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Paxton Steps Up to Defend the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Students’ Religious Freedom
AUSTIN, TX -- Attorney General Paxton joined a Montana-led amicus brief in support of students’ religious liberties after the San Jose Unified School District (“SJUSD”) discriminated against students wishing to participate in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (“FCA”).
FCA is a religious organization centered around Christianity and athletics, and it is open to all students wishing to participate in school clubs across America. To seek a leadership role in the organization, students must affirm FCA’s Statement of Faith, which, among other tenets of Christian doctrine, includes a commitment to traditional views on sex and marriage.
Because of these views and FCA’s commitment to having leaders that hold Christian beliefs, SJUSD discriminatorily applied its purportedly neutral non-discrimination policy to revoke FCA clubs’ institutional benefits. Certain teachers went further in their blatant disdain for FCA by rallying students against it, encouraging its members’ ostracization, and even supporting the creation of “The Satanic Temple Club” to openly mock FCA’s beliefs.
These efforts to infringe on students’ liberties, by both teachers and the district, are abhorrent and unconstitutional.
The amicus brief states: “[T]he District’s targeted discrimination against FCA shows that its non-discrimination abets the District’s punishment of disfavored beliefs and views. Because of the requirement that FCA’s leaders affirm its Statement of Faith, the District refused to extend the same treatment as it does to other student organizations. The District’s actions, therefore, violate the First Amendment, and this Court must reverse.”
To read the full amicus brief, click here.