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A federal lawsuit could have impact on the mission field.

By December 16, 2004

USA (MNN)–Colorado Christian University, branded as ‘too religious’, has lost its bid for state-funded student financial aid programs.

The school filed a lawsuit December 6th against the Colorado Commission on Higher Education. CCU contends the state’s student-aid programs discriminate against religious schools and universities.

The issue came to a head after the commission refused to allow the 90-year-old liberal arts college in Lakewood to participate in Colorado’s state-funded student financial aid programs.

The Christian Legal Society’s Center for Law and Religious Freedom filed on behalf of the school. Spokesman Greg Baylor. “We are arguing that Colorado’s statutory exclusion of students who go to “pervasively sectarian schools” violates the generally protected constitutional rights of the university and its students. We’re arguing that the exclusion violates their rights, protected by the free exercise clause of the First Amendment.”

He goes on to say that, “Colorado’s religiously discriminatory student-aid laws reflect an outdated understanding of ‘separation of church and state’.”

The outcome of the federal suit could have far reaching impact. Cornerstone University’s executive Vice President Dr. Bob Nienhuis says they’re watching the case, as there are similar restrictions in Michigan. “It may mean that the student who wants to now go into pastoral ministry or into missions could ultimately have to borrow more money or delay their entry into ministry because they’ve got to repay those loans before they can go out into the ministry. That would be unfortunate. I think it’s going to have a potentially diminishing effect on the number of students that would ultimately be able to make onto the mission field.”

The next meeting on the case is slated for February 8th.

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