Initial arguments in Youth 71Five Ministries case against education dept.

MEDFORD, Ore. — Oral arguments began Tuesday in federal court between a local Christian organization who believes it was unfairly stripped of grant money by the Oregon Department of Education.

Youth 71Five ministries said they have been receiving grants from Oregon’s Youth Community Investment Grant Program for years.

Earlier this year they filed a lawsuit after it was stripped of $400,000 in grants by the state education department.

The lawsuit says a new rule prohibits faith-based organizations from receiving grants if they prefer members of their own faith as employees or volunteers.

Senior Counsel from the Alliance Defending Freedom, Jeremiah Galus said, “the Supreme Court has said, very clearly, three times now in the past seven years, that government officials cannot exclude a religious organization from an otherwise available government program, just because of their religious character and beliefs.”

Employment applications for Youth 71Five include a number or religious questions, including asking about the applicants faith background and asking them to agree to a statement of faith.

The grant was originally awarded to 71Five in June of 2023 and then stripped away three months later.

The judge presiding in the case concluded Tuesday saying he will be reviewing the arguments and will issue a ruling in due course.

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Former NBC5 News reporter Derek Strom is from Renton, Washington. He recently graduated from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communications at Washington State University with a degree in Broadcast News and a minor in Sports Management. He played in the drumline with the WSU marching band. These days, he plays the guitar and piano. Derek is a devoted fan of the Mariners, Seahawks, and Kraken.
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