Largest Christian university in U.S. fined $37 million ... coincidence or targeted attack?

Largest Christian university in U.S. fined $37 million ... coincidence or targeted attack?

Largest Christian university in U.S. fined $37 million ... coincidence or targeted attack?

A dust storm of political madness is brewing in Phoenix, Arizona, as Grand Canyon University faces the continued threats of Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona.

Sarah Holliday
Sarah Holliday

Sarah Holliday is a reporter at The Washington Stand.

Christians have watched as the Biden administration attacks biblical views left and right, with a particularly vehement disregard of the sanctity of life and marriage. As such, it can’t be too surprising that Cardona, a part of this leftist administration, has “vowed” to shut down America’s largest Christian university.

In late October, GCU was hit with “a $37.7 million fine brought by the federal government over allegations that it lied to students about the cost of its programs,” AP News reported — an accusation GCU President Brian Mueller described as “ridiculous.” Around the same time, Liberty University, America’s second largest Christian university, was also fined $37 million “over alleged underreporting of crimes.”

Mueller, Brian (GCU) Mueller

GCU appealed its fine in November even though a hearing is not expected until January 2025. But the question Mueller has is one of integrity. Is this genuine consideration for the well-being of students, or is this a targeted attack against religious institutions?

“It’s interesting, isn’t it, that the two largest Christian universities in the country, this one and Liberty University, are both being fined almost the identical amount at almost the identical time?” the college president speculated in a speech. “Now is there a cause and effect there? I don’t know. But it’s a fact.”

Read previous AFN stories about GCU and the Dept. of Education

This April, the House Appropriations Committee held a hearing specifically about the administration’s decision to “crack down on GCU and other universities like it.” During the proceedings, Cardona and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), made their disapproval for GCU and similar universities obvious.

“[W]e are cracking down not only to shut them down, but to send a message to not prey on students,” Cardona emphasized.

Supporters of GCU agree the fine seems unprecedented and motivated by ideological bias, including American Principles Project Policy Director Jon Schweppe, who said, “The federal government’s education agenda is punishing schools that do not conform to their progressive ideology. It’s time we take a stand against this egregious abuse of power.”

Another conservative think tank, the Goldwater Institute (GI), sued the Department of Education for “refusing to turn over” public “documents that explain why” they’re fining GCU. The goal of their lawsuit is to unmask the reason behind the fine.

“With its motto of ‘private, Christian, affordable’ and its track record of graduating students into high-demand and high-paying jobs, GCU is a success story by any metric. And it stands apart from universities across the country that are facing declining enrollment, that are indoctrinating students with radical politics, and that are under attack for failing to defend the First Amendment,” GI wrote. “So then why are the feds targeting GCU, a popular university that seems to be doing everything right? That’s exactly what we’re going to find out.”

While there is still immense uncertainty surrounding this case, the GCU president took the time to share with The Washington Stand how his staff, faculty, and students are fairing in these troubling times and how believers everywhere can help. Mueller emphasized that GCU has faced various issues over the years. But despite the government’s action, he wanted people to know that “interestingly enough, it has had zero impact on anything that we’re doing.”

He continued, “The enrollments are just continuing to grow … [and] the morale is very high in terms of our faculty and staff. The campus is extremely vibrant. I mean, the students absolutely love this place. They’re extremely loyal to it, and so we just keep marching through it.”

And while the fine they’re being dealt by the Department of Education is “a problem,” Mueller is just thankful that GCU remains optimistic.

The Christian “mission, not politics, is our motivation and it is our hope,” he told The Washington Stand. As a university, Mueller explained how they exist to “pour into” the community around them. He added, “[O]ur reach into the neighborhood and caring for disadvantaged populations has been a way to live out our faith” in a way “that has risen above … political divide.” Ultimately, with support from “both sides of the aisle” in Arizona, he noted, “[A]ll the issues we have are with a very small number of people in Washington, DC.”

“We encourage people to be involved politically and vote,” Mueller said. “… But our faith will stand above the politics always, and our politics will never become our religion.” Because, for “many people in our country today, their politics have become their religion, and that’s when things … go really bad in our society.” He pointed out that GCU is “trying to be an example of a Christian community that can rise above those things and focus on helping people” through service, as Scripture calls believers to do.

Mueller concluded with a request for prayer as they work through these troubling times and for “the hearts of certain people in Washington, DC, to be softened,” adding that “it’s hard to make progress and resolve differences when people just … don’t want to talk to each other.”

This article appeared originally here.

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