Illinois Bible Colleges Petition the United States Supreme Court

CHICAGO—On Wednesday, January 3, the Illinois Bible College Association (IBCA) filed a petition for certiorari to the Supreme Court of the United States to adjudicate the right of the Bible colleges to operate and grant religious degrees without government interference. A Chicago federal district court denied the Bible colleges the freedom to grant degrees and its decision was affirmed by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in August 2017.

The IBCA argues that the state’s prohibition on granting degrees in religious areas without state approval is an unlawful restriction on free speech. These regulations require the Bible colleges to give up their autonomy in the religious education of their students. “What competence does the state of Illinois have to approve the professors or course content leading to degrees in Reformation theology or contemporary urban ministry?” stated John Mauck, the Bible colleges’ legal representative. The colleges also argue that the state statutes limit free speech because they prohibit the Bible colleges from communicating to their students that they have “satisfactorily completed an organized academic program of study beyond the secondary school level.”

“There’s vast disagreement in the states about government control over the granting of degrees in religious areas of higher education. According to a Connecticut research report, there are twenty-eight states that have some form of statutory language exempting private religious colleges or Bible colleges from higher education licensing, certification, or accreditation processes.” commented Sorin Leahu, attorney and legal representative to the IBCA.

View Petition Here                                                                                    ####