A federal judge in California ruled in favor of the University of California's decision to discriminate against coursework done by high school students that includes a Christian viewpoint.
The University of California system "necessarily facilitate some viewpoints over others in judging the excellence of those students applying to UC," said the new opinion from U.S. District Judge S. James Otero.
The judge concluded the UC system was correct to reject courses from major book publishers, including Bob Jones University Press and A Beka Books, a Florida publishing powerhouse, because they include a Christian perspective.
Robert Tyler of Advocates for Faith and Freedom told WND the case now will be appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and it may even end up in the Supreme Court because of the potential impacts.
Tyler is representing Calvary Chapel Christian School and five students in the case against the University of California, which imposed a policy that created an ultimatum for Christian schools. Also involved in the case is the Association of Christian Schools International.
"If you want courses to be approved in private education, so your students are qualified to attend (UC) institutions, you must teach from a secular point of view," Tyler said the UC message concludes.
"This case is very significant as it relates to the future of private Christian education because there's been a longstanding principle that governmental agencies cannot discriminate against a person or entity because of the viewpoint they espouse," Tyler said. "[This case result] is like saying, 'We will allow Republicans, Democrats and Independents but we're not going to allow the Green Party.'
"Frankly, the court's opinion ignores the longstanding constitutional principle that government agencies cannot engage in discrimination based on a person's viewpoint espoused. If the court's decision is not reversed, it will mean the UC school system has the right to discriminate purely based upon the fact that a Christian school is a Christian school or a Jewish school is Jewish," Tyler said.
One of the condemned books, according to the judge, was "United States History for Chrsitian Schools" by Bob Jones University Press. The book, according to a witness cited by the judge, is unusable because it "instructs that the Bible is the unerring source for analysis of historical events, attributes historical events to divine providence rather than analyzing human action, evaluates historical figures and their contributions based on their religious motivations or lack thereof and contains inadequate treatment of … non-Christian religious groups."
The University of California system adopted its policy a year ago that science, history and literature textbooks by major Christian book publishers wouldn't qualify for core admissions requirements because of the inclusion of Christian perspectives.
"Essentially what's happening is the UC has to pre-approve courses taught in high school," Tyler said. "It's pretty shocking, because in depositions UC reps made it clear: whether it be English, history or science, the addition of a religious viewpoint makes it unacceptable.
"We believe that UC's discrimination is clearly unconstitutional and violates the First Amendment, because UC is attempting to secularize Christian schools," Tyler told WND earlier.
"The UC is intent upon defending some 'right' to discriminate unlawfully," he said. "They seem steadfast that students will not be adequately prepared for college because a Christian worldview was added to their curriculum."
Under the disputed policy, classes based on books that mention God or the Bible don't count, effectively making a secular education a prerequisite for admission.
Burt Carney, an executive with the Association of Christian Schools International, said he's met with officials for the university system and was told that there was no problem with the actual facts in a BJU physics textbook that was disallowed.
In fact, an ACSI report said, UC officials confirmed "that if the Scripture verses that begin each chapter were removed the textbook would likely be approved ."
"Here's the very university that talks about academic freedom," Carney said. "It's very discriminating. They don't rule against Muslim or Hindu or Jewish (themes) or so forth, only those with a definite Christian theme."
According to the lawsuit, a variety of textbooks with supplemental perspectives were accepted – just not those with a Christian perspective.
For example, "Western Civilization: The Jewish Experience" and "Issues in African History" were accepted, but "Christianity's Influence on American History" was rejected. "Feminine Roles in Literature," "Gender, Sexuality, and Identity in Literature" and "Literature of Dissent" were accepted, but "Christianity and Morality in American Literature" was not.
Most strikingly, "Intro to Buddhism," "Introduction to Jewish Thought," "Women's Studies & Feminism" and "Raza Studies" were deemed acceptable electives, but "Special Providence: American Government" was unacceptable, both as a civics and elective course.