The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the nation’s massive school lunch program for needy students, recently imposed a “nondiscrimination” requirement on the program that requires schools receiving taxpayer funds through the program to comply with sexual orientation and gender ideology rules in order to receive funding.
Gender idealogues in the federal government are saying “Believe what we tell you to believe or your kids will go hungry.” This is the very definition of shameless.
The federal mandate is no accident, as the administration is pushing a highly unpopular redefinition of “sex” to include sexual orientation and gender identity through all its federal agencies and the programs they administer, even though Congress has not passed any law with such a requirement.
Many of those schools are faith-based and cannot comply with the new requirement without violating their deeply held beliefs.
One such school is fighting back to protect its religious identity and freedom. Grant Park Christian Academy is located in Tampa, Florida. Its 56 students all come from families in the community with incomes below the federal poverty level, and the school is applying for school lunch funding for the 2022-2023 school year.
But the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Florida Department of Agriculture Commissioner are poised to deny the funding based on the school’s beliefs.
With the assistance of attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), Grant Park Christian Academy has sued the federal government and the Florida agricultural commissioner for violating the school’s constitutional and federal rights.
“Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and the Biden Administration are punishing low-income children and threatening to take away their school lunches—simply because they attend Christian schools,” the Complaint filed in a Tampa federal court asserts.
If forced to comply with the federal mandate, the school would have to change all of its school activities, including restrooms, dress codes, hiring, admissions, curricula, athletics and daily conversations. The mandate not only forbids sex-specific restrooms and dress codes, but requires the use of “preferred” pronouns contrary to a student’s sex.
ADF Legal Counsel Erica Steinmiller-Perdomo commented on the need for the lawsuit in a press release.
“The Biden administration is threatening to take away lunch money from low-income children simply because they attend Christian schools,” Steinmiller-Perdomo said. “Grant Park Christian Academy is working to revitalize their historically underprivileged community, and offering children nutritious meals is a vital part of their service. The Biden administration is ignoring the law and forcing this wonderful school to make an untenable choice: violate its religious beliefs or stop providing lunches to children.”
Christian and other faith-based schools across the country face the same sort of ultimatum that Grant Park Christian Academy is fighting. A victory for Grant Park would be a victory for religious freedom on a massive scale. Please pray for the school’s success in this lawsuit.
The case is Grant Park Christian Academy v. Fried.
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