Oregon Revokes Grant Funds for Youth Ministry Over Statement of Faith

Oregon has stripped a youth ministry of funding because it requires employees and volunteers to share in its mission to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Don’t officials know what the U.S. Supreme Court has already said about this? Apparently not.

Youth 71Five Ministries, a youth ministry, requires people who work or volunteer for the ministry to sign statements of faith. According to Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the ministry’s legal counsel, the organization provides services for all kinds of people but requires anyone who works with the people its serves to share its faith and mission. This wasn’t a problem — until 2024. What changed?

State officials claimed that a new rule bars state grant applicants from discriminating on the basis of religion.

The U.S. Supreme Court has contended that religious organizations can’t be denied a public benefit simply for being religious, and these organizations may hire employees who share the faith.

Youth 71Five Ministries told state officials that hiring only those who shared their beliefs was legally protected. ADF filed a lawsuit on the ministry’s behalf in March.

The complaint filed by ADF attorneys notes that Oregon officials acknowledged at a quarterly meeting that it was rare for the department to rescind an award, and that the state maintains discretion to waive grant program rules and requirements for other reasons.

Attorneys for the youth ministry argued the case on Monday.

“By stripping 71Five of its funding, Oregon is giving religious ministries an impossible choice: hire those who reject your beliefs to receive funding that everyone else can access or go without the funding,” ADF attorney Jeremiah Galus said.

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