Two more Christian colleges have filed suit against the federal government over the contraceptive mandate implemented as part of the 2010 health care reforms. Biola University, in La Mirada, Calif., and Grace College and Seminary, in Winona Lake, Ind., join nine other colleges challenging the requirement to provide health insurance coverage for contraceptive and abortifacient drugs. The Alliance Defending Freedom represents the two new litigants as well as several of the other schools that have filed suit. In July, a U.S. district judge in Washington D.C. dismissed the first suit over the mandate. Belmont Abbey, a Catholic college in North Carolina, did not have standing to pursue a legal challenge because it had not actually been harmed by the mandate yet, the judge ruled. Although the mandate went into effect Aug. 1, most schools took advantage of a year-long grace period and will not face compliance requirements until next year.
Wheaton College, one of the schools represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, could not use the year reprieve because it unknowingly provided coverage for emergency contraceptive drugs in previous insurance policies offered to staff and students. But last week, federal officials announced the school would get the reprieve anyway. Although the decision frees Wheaton from paying any fines over its lack of compliance, it also could free the government from facing the school's legal challenge, at least for now. Wheaton was the only school opposed to the mandate that faced an Aug. 1 compliance deadline, giving it the best shot for getting the first court date.
Trademark case: In other lawsuit-related news, Regent University, in Virginia Beach, Va., is threatening to sue the Georgia Board of Regents over the state's newest school--Georgia Regents University. The school formed when two other colleges--Augusta State University and Georgia Health Science University--merged earlier this year. Dr. Carlos Campo, Regent University's president, said in a statement that his school would defend its name by filing a trademark infringement lawsuit if Georgia officials didn't come up with a different name for the new school. Regent's legal saber rattling could give the Board of Regents the excuse it needs to backtrack on an unpopular decision. Students, faculty and alumni started protesting the new name as soon as it was announced. Students and community members overwhelmingly chose University of Augusta for the new name in polls taken earlier this year.
Prayer protest: A secular group at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) is urging students to protest the school's practice of inviting someone to pray before football games. Since 2010, a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes has led the prayers at the school's request, according to a report in The Times Free Press. The Secular Student Alliance mounted its opposition campaign after learning that the Freedom from Religion Foundation sent a letter in May to school administrators protesting the practice. UTC is in Hamilton County, where the county commission faces a federal lawsuit over its practice of offering a Christian prayer before its meetings.
Prejudice and bigotry?: An associate professor at the University of Central Florida got his 15 minutes of Internet fame this week after a scathing email he sent to students made its way to Reddit. Students posted the note on the social link sharing site and media outlets quickly picked up the story. In his email, Charles Negy blasted Christian students in his Cross-Cultural Psychology class for asserting the ultimate truth of their beliefs.
"Bigots-racial bigot or religious bigots-never question their prejudices and bigotry," Negy wrote. "They are convinced their beliefs are correct. For the Christians in my class who argued the validity of Christianity last week, I suppose I should thank you for demonstrating to the rest of the class what religious arrogance and bigotry looks like."
Negy clearly missed the plank in his own eye. His determination to point out his students' intolerance blinded the professor to his own prejudice, bigotry and devotion to secular humanism. Arrogance indeed.