Civil rights activists called Rev. Jerry Falwell "hysterical" for claiming that the recently passed Civil Rights Restoration Act could require churches to hire a "practicing, active homosexual drug addict with AIDS to be a teacher or youth pastor." His claim was dismissed as a ploy by a televangelist to squeeze more money out of a frightened flock. But Falwell's scenario is more easily realized than you might think.
Promoters of the Civil Rights Restoration Act have promised churches and church-owned schools religious exemption, and they may be tempted to take solace in that. But given some recent legislation and court decisions, they should be prepared for federal discrimination lawsuits filed by a civil rights establishment which increasingly views their beliefs as archaic superstitions—ones which prevent millions of Americans from being brought into the "enlightened" world of the popular secular morality embodied in the "new civil rights."
The vehicle for these lawsuits will again be the federal money which permeates every segment of American society. Until 1984, private schools had to comply with the major civil rights legislation only if they accepted direct federal money in the form of grants and contracts. Schools like Hillsdale College and Grove City College were exempt because they took no direct aid from the government.
That all changed when the Supreme...