On December 19, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that temporarily halted all federal funding for religious schools in the United States.
The move came after a string of religiously-affiliated schools were sued in the federal courts, including one in Kansas City, Missouri, that claimed it was discriminated against on the basis of race.
The suit was brought by the United Methodist Church (UMC), a national denomination that includes nearly a dozen schools across the United Stated.
The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in Kansas, claimed that the school had been “harassed, intimidated, and otherwise subjected to a hostile work environment.”
In response, Trump signed a directive that required all federal funds for schools to be redirected to faith-based schools.
The order specifically prohibited funding for “any institution or person that provides instruction in, or conducts religious education or religious programs.”
The directive, which is signed by the president and sent to Congress, stated that all federal grants must be directed to schools that “adopt a biblical worldview, including the teachings of the United Church of Christ.”
But this is a far cry from the policies and practices of the majority of American religious institutions.
As the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) is now under the microscope, religious schools are struggling to comply with the directive, as well as with the Trump administration’s proposed budget, which would cut funding to faith schools by nearly a third.
While it’s true that faith-oriented schools are the most visible, visible victims of Trump’s executive order, there are many other faith-centered schools that are also being targeted.
According to the Center for Education Policy, there were 3,700 religious schools nationwide in 2016.
Of those, 1,400 were publicly funded and one-quarter were not.
Of these, more than two-thirds were non-sectarian.
This means that the vast majority of the faith-related programs that exist today, including Christian schools, mosques, temples, and religious schools, are religiously-based, not faith-inspired.
In fact, the majority—some 1,200 schools—are faith-only schools.
When asked about the impact of the executive order on their schools, many of these schools say they’ve already been impacted.
“It has affected us in some way,” said one senior at an all-girls Catholic school in Indiana.
“We’re going to have to be a little more careful now and a little less aggressive.”
As of December 2018, only 17 states and Washington, DC had officially declared their intentions to make faith-free schools religiously-free.
However, this has not stopped the majority from pursuing religious freedom.
As of June 2018, nearly half of American students attended religiously-hosted school, according to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
Of that group, nearly two-fifths (64 percent) said they felt uncomfortable attending religious school.
In addition, more and more students are asking their parents or guardians to remove religious symbols from their homes.
“In some ways, we are now living in a Christian world,” said a Catholic teacher in Indiana who asked not to be identified because she was not allowed to speak publicly about the issue.
She added, “The more we get out there, the more we realize that the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates are more progressive and secular.
And the fact that we are still seeing the effects of the Muslim ban, I think it shows that we still have a long way to go.”
In 2017, the Center on Education Policy found that, of the nearly 1.3 million students enrolled in faith-focused schools in 2016, a total of 533,000 students attended faith-funded schools.
Of the students who did not attend faith-affiliated school, an additional 1,973,000 (72 percent) were from religious families, according the Center’s research.
As a result, faith-filled students have a greater chance of achieving high school diplomas, higher income, and better outcomes.
“I feel that we’re at a tipping point,” said another senior at a faith-dedicated school.
“The students who are in faith schools are getting into college, getting jobs, and they’re doing great.”
“We are a nation of immigrants, we’re a nation that has always had diversity,” said the student.
“And faith is a cornerstone of our country.”
The majority of students who attend faith schools report that the majority or all of their teachers are non-believers.
“There’s a difference between a belief in a god and a religious belief,” said Emily Hirschberg, a faith leader at the Center.
“So, if you’re a Christian and you’re in a church, and you see that you’re going against the Bible and you feel like you need to be more progressive, then you’re not a good student, and I don’t think you can be a good teacher.
I don.t think you’re an ethical teacher. So, that