We have received several letters from readers who appreciate what we are trying to do in our ministry. They say that they want us to be aware that there are grants for certain types of educational efforts that we can get from the government. We serve and educate hundreds of prisoners around the country. We have to explain why we don’t accept government grants.
Many years ago, Ohio Valley Christian College (now Ohio Valley University) erected an auditorium using a grant program from the government. The auditorium served the community and provided a venue for theatrical programs. The school conducted a short devotional at the beginning of each day as a part of the education of the students presenting the values of a Christian education. The government informed the school that they could no longer use the auditorium for that purpose because it could be interpreted as the government sanctioning religion. To the school’s credit, they returned the government grant.
I happened to share a motel room with the president of the school during that time and learned first-hand the dilemma it presented. The government is very inconsistent with this kind of control. When I was involved in atheism, we were able to use public facilities free of charge, with the government providing the facility and bearing its expense. Ten years later, when I was a Christian, we tried to rent a public facility in New York. We were refused because we were talking about God and the scientific evidence for faith.
Hillsdale College here in Michigan makes a point of stating clearly: “Hillsdale refuses to accept one penny from the government – not even indirectly in the form of federal or state student grants or loans. This is essential to our ability to remain independent and stay true to our educational mission.”
We applaud Hillsdale for that policy, and we fully understand it. That’s why we don’t accept government grants. Like Hillsdale, this ministry is totally funded by the generosity of those who believe what we are doing is essential. We will not use grants or loans that have government connections.
— John N. Clayton © 2019