University Capitulates; Drops Consortium and Course
(Madison, Wis.) The national Freedom From Religion Foundation, which sued the University of Minnesota in federal court on March 25 over the university's involvement in a "faith health consortium" and proposed "faith/health leadership" course, has won a complete victory.
The University of Minnesota just notified the Freedom From Religion Foundation that it has agreed not to offer the course under litigation. The University had previously withdrawn from the Minnesota Faith Health Consortium on July 5. The Foundation contended that the 3-course program to train professionals to be "faith/health leaders" belongs at a seminary, not a public university.
The Faith/Health Clinical Leadership program was the centerpiece of the Minnesota Faith Health Consortium, and was described as a model for training health providers and seminarians together for the first time.
"We have halted a serious First Amendment violation, a partnership between a public university and religious organizations to promote religion to students and patients that was intended to serve as a national model," noted Annie Laurie Gaylor, Foundation co-president.
Gaylor said the Minnesota legal victory builds on the Foundation's October court victory in Montana, in which U.S. Magistrate Judge Richard W. Anderson, U.S. District Court, District of Montana, Butte Division, ruled that the public-funded Montana Office of Rural Health impermissibly funded the Montana Faith Health Cooperative to provide "parish nursing."
The Foundation is looking into similar unconstitutional collaborations in other states.
This is the Foundation's fourth legal win against the faith-based initiative.
For more information on Freedom From Religion Foundation et al. v. Dr. Robert Bruininks, et al., Civil No. 05-638 JNE/SRN, media may call Annie Laurie Gaylor at 608/256-8900.