Thursday, April 3, 2008

UIL 2--Christians 0

The UIL has once again defeated a private, Christian school in court. Cornerstone Christian School in San Antonio was turned down in its application to join the UIL, so it tried to litigate its way in. In a lengthy, well reasoned, and colorful decision, Judge Fred Biery ruled for the UIL. This is the second such suit the UIL has won. The first was filed by Jesuit High School in Dallas. So for those of you keeping score, it is not UIL 2--Christians 0.

You may wonder how it is that Dallas Jesuit and Houston Jesuit are now full fledged members of the UIL. It seems that the UIL won the case in federal court, but while it was on appeal to the 5th Circuit, the parties settled. Part of the settlement was to carve out a small exception to the general rule that keeps private schools out of the UIL. The exception allows into 5A those private schools that are not eligible for membership in a similar league, provided they have also never been suspended or kicked out of a similar private league. The two Jesuit schools met that criteria. They had gotten so big that they were no longer eligible for TAPPS (Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools). They had never had their membership suspended or revoked. So the UIL let them in at the 5A level.

But remember: the UIL did that voluntarily. The Jesuits lost in court.

And so did the Cornerstone Christians. The judge concluded that Cornerstone did not fit the exception. The case featured a big argument over whether Cornerstone had been "suspended or revoked" by TAPPS, or just "non-renewed." But the judge ruled that no matter how you looked at it, Cornerstone did not satisfy the two conditions required for UIL membership.

It's a fascinating decision. The judge clearly enjoyed showing off his knowledge of the Bible as he quoted it several times. He also quoted the Koran, the Book of Mormon, Martin Luther and Hans Christian Anderson. The case also includes a good summation of the rights of parents to direct the upbringing of their children. The judge makes it clear that parents have that right, but it is far from unlimited. Parents do not have the right to dicate how public schools must operate. Parents who choose to put their kids in private school have the constitutional right to do so....but they do not have the right to also claim all of the benefits that flow from enrollment in public schools. This is one example of that basic fact.

So say a prayer for our friends at the UIL. We fear that all these victories over the Christians may cost them somewhere down the line.