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Nearly a decade ago, Archbishop Charles Chaput warned religious believers to prepare for the “Next America.” He predicted that in the not-too-distant future, government would target religious people and institutions, either forcing them to violate their beliefs or pushing them out of the public square. One midwestern Catholic school now fears that future has arrived—and it’s fighting back to protect its religious liberty.
The Lyceum, a classical school in South Euclid, Ohio, is challenging a city ordinance that would force the school to violate Catholic teaching on marriage and sexuality. The city’s measure, which passed one year ago this month, bans any “differential treatment” in employment based on “gender identity or expression” or “sexual orientation.” But the Lyceum, simply by requiring its faculty and students to adhere to Catholic sexual teaching, and mandating that students use the restroom of their biological sex, runs afoul of this ordinance. As the school argues in its federal lawsuit, this law is a direct assault on its rights protected by the First Amendment.
South - Euclid - Ordinance - Attention - Advocates
Introduced in 2017, South Euclid’s ordinance immediately drew attention from both advocates and opponents. The first iterations explicitly included exemptions for religious organizations, but as the debate continued, the City Council deleted the exemption. The final version contains no religious protections whatsoever—an omission that the city’s community services director said would make South Euclid a more “welcoming place.”
After a thorough review, school administrators determined that the Lyceum’s admissions policies, employment policies, and facility use policies could violate the new law. For example, the school, which leases its property from the Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic parish, requires all faculty, staff, parents, guardians, and students to adhere to Catholic teaching on marriage and sexuality. Its 53 students also must use the restroom of their biological sex. Such policies were non-controversial half a decade ago....
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