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Pushback: Catholic college moves to end its need for any federal funding

Belmont Abbey College

Bring a gun to a knife fight: Belmont Abbey College, a small private Catholic college in North Carolina, has begun a major fund-raising campaign to free itself and its students from any need to obtain what it calls “intrusive” federal funding.

According to their fund-raising website,

Without the ability to remain financially independent and secure, we place our faith-based practices at risk from a federal government both increasingly intrusive to private institutions and increasingly hostile to faith. The mission of Belmont Abbey College is rooted in a desire to fill society with graduates prepared to restore the culture for the greater glory of God and create a world where charity and goodness thrive.

Their goal is to raise $55 million.

As noted by Philip Brach, vice president of college relations, at the second link above, the college has had to repeatedly fight the federal government under Democratic Party administrations over issues relating to abortion, contraceptives, and most recently, the queer agenda. In each case the college has won, but each time it took years and money to win.

“Presently, anti-religious liberty advocates are pushing multiple administrative, legislative and judicial initiatives,” said Brach, naming the Department of Education’s effort to override Title IX exemptions regarding transgender identity as one example. Brach also cited practical problems with federal funding for higher institutions as a reason for the capital campaign, saying the current federal student loan system is essentially bankrupt.

He said “concerns about federal intervention are active, unhypothetical realities,” citing several examples from the college’s history. “Knowledgeable public policy experts have informed Belmont Abbey leadership that the public policy agenda includes long-term plans to make public higher education tuition-free, at which point federal aid to private colleges will likely terminate,” Brach said.

In other words, the college expects continuing and never-ending interference from the federal government, and has finally decided the costs outweigh the benefits from any funding. At the same time, the school needs alternative funds to function, which explains the fund-raising drive.

This situation is really a test of the Catholic/religious community. If it really stands for what it believes in, as Belmont Abbey very clearly does, it will rise up and provide it the contributions necessary to free itself from government interference. If it does not, then we will know how shallow American society really is when it comes to these religious beliefs.

This attempt by Belmont Abbey is also another illustration of how this war with the left must be fought. Compromise can no longer work. Ethical people who wish to follow their own path must do so, without taking any hand-outs from the other side. To do so is like dealing with the devil: the cash always comes with hidden demands.

In both cases I wonder if the right really has the gumption to fight this war. In the past half century it has consistently shown itself to be weak. Now that the barbarians are already in the statehouses and controlling the government, will conservatives finally come to grips with the situation? I honestly have doubts.

Genesis cover

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The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

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  • wayne

    Are they sure $55 million is enough?
    Hillsdale College, which accepts no Federal aid, has an endowment of $900+/- million.
    (Yearly cost roughly $30K, with the average student receiving roughly $22K in aid from the College.)

  • wayne: The college makes it clear that this is only the first step in getting off the government dole. They appear to recognize that $55 million won’t be enough, but it will help them gauge if the Catholic community is serious about its religious beliefs.

  • wayne

    Mr. Z.,
    thanks, just skimmed their website briefly.
    ->It appears Hillsdale and Belmont Abby have similar enrollment numbers of (about) 1,500 per year.

  • Alex Andrite

    huh … The “Department of Education”. Fighting it ?
    Well that sums it up.

    Shall we choose another front, or another non front, or …. ?

  • Sippin_bourbon

    This effort exposes the error made by “private institutions” decades ago, when they were lured by sweet government dollars.

    In doing so they made themselves pawns.

    The swamp figured out that getting folks dependent on federal money as a gateway drug allowed them to sink their claws into everything.

    No need for laws to ram thing down their when people and orgs willingly come to the trough and feed.

  • Orson

    “ In the past half century it has consistently shown itself to be weak. Now that the barbarians are already in the statehouses and controlling the government, will conservatives finally come to grips with the situation?” Precisely.

    Strategic solutions can only be advanced when the Left’s menace is correctly understood.

    To my mind, this means grasping that the Left imposes Anarcho-Tyranny upon us. This paradoxical label aims to describe how the Left has mutilated the Rule of Law into a deliberately Unequal exercise. On the one hand, Antifa — the Left’s Black Shirts — is given lassitude and toleration to riot and arson cities and attack the police. On the other hand, innocents who follow the law are persecuted like victims of the Spanish Inquisition, such as the J6 “defendants.”

    Thus Unequal application and enforcement of “Law,” vitiating the Equal Protection Clause, means fair play cannot be allowed to work.

    What to do? Law-breaking of the most obvious sort must be enforced at the lowest and most individualistic level. Start with the so-calked Red States. Take seriously application of Constitutional Concealed Carry laws. Protect and enhance them so that they are pushed into “Blue” cities. Let no observed pilfering go unpunished— or even, on the spit restitution made, under the draw of arms, as needed.

    The Far Left will scream it’s genuflecting insults and invective. Racist! White supremacy! And so on. But the people will respect this new boldness and bravery. Public confidence in the restored Old Order will grow.

    The consequences will prove decisive and salutary.

    There’s more thinking on Anarcho-Tyranny around. I’m studying what’s useful in the available literature. My point is that from consolidated Red States, “Blue” lawless areas can see control and order retuned. From positions of strength, we can proceed outward into re-civilizing enemy territory.

    Belmont Abbey College is poised to achieve a parallel re-civilizung mission. Let not our exemplars be neglected and go without imitation. Rather, repeat and improve and create icons of rectitude— paragons to inspire and emulate.

  • Orson: I might very well reference your comment here in my essay tomorrow. What you say is exactly right, and something I have been advocating for years, all to no avail. We are about to find out if anything has changed, and I will discuss this tomorrow.

  • Dave

    Yes! On a profoundly relevant issue, the claim that “no man is above the law,” is a subset of “equal application of the law!” Failure of adherence to the latter – by definition, assures that the former will not exist!

  • Delilah

    If the Catholic Church’s support of parochial schools is any measure, they shouldn’t expect any. Individuals and private donors. They should publicize this on conservative media sites. Conservatives do put their money where their mouths are.

  • Col Beausabre

    Sippin Bourbon. In a widely circulated and prescient essay in the late Forties, Robert Maynard Hutchins PhD, ex-President and then Chancellor of the University of Chicago warned about how American academia had become addicted to government money in World War 2 when it was harnessed to the war. effort. He pointed out, using the ancient saying, “He who pays the piper calls the tune” that to accept funding from an outside entity was to accept control by that entity. He was ignored. All that beautiful government money was too delicious – Crack to academia

  • All: It isn’t just institutions that were poisoned by the addiction to government money. The American people themselves post-World War II eagerly accepted the government dole, and thus put themselves into slavery.

    We must always remember that institutions are made of people, and the people are the ones who make the decisions. The actions of academia and other institutions in the past half century to accept government handouts merely reflected the desires of the American people in general.

    To our great sorrow and ultimate failure.

  • Orson:

    I had not considered that Western Civilization was already in the post-Dark Ages position of re-establishing Civilization. A useful insight, and thank you. This does illustrate the uneven nature of societal transition, in this case, a Fall of Empire. The United States is large enough that the various stages of Fall are contemporaneous: Some areas little affected to this point, some places declining fast (any West Coast city), and others virtually uninhabitable (many large US cities).

    I would mark this transition as different than other social upheavals in US history on the observation that previous crisis were faced as a more-or-less united people. Even during the social upheavals of the 1960’s and ’70’s, the message from the disaffected was for inclusion in American society, not to be separated from it, as is the message now.

  • “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through this sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From courage to liberty; From liberty to abundance; From abundance to selfishness; From selfishness to apathy; From apathy to dependence; From dependence back into bondage.”
    ― Alexander Fraser Tytler

  • Don Carrera

    Grove City College (Grove City PA) has been off the government rolls for over 25 years. Enrollment (2400+) doesn’t seem to have been affected at all. It has given the college more freedom from harassment by our ‘friendly’ govt.

    Their endowment is only around $125M.

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