California Church Has Food Funding Reinstated After Gender Lawsuit

A California church won a lawsuit on Tuesday against the state after having its federal funding to feed children in need cut due to its position on LGBT issues.

The Church of Compassion sued the state of California in March 2023 after it cut its food funding due to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) changing the guidelines of its Child and Adult Food Care Program (CACFP) in 2022. The new rules required that any organization in the program be prohibited from discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation.

According to the settlement reached by the Church of Compassion and Dayspring Christian Learning Center and Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the state would pay around $200,000 including the $30,000 the ministry paid out of pocket, along with an estimated $160,000 in attorney fees.

“The government can’t withhold food from needy families simply because their children attend a Christian preschool. The Constitution protects the right of Church of Compassion and its preschool to operate according to the dictates of their faith,” Jeremiah Galus, senior counsel for ADF, said in a press release.

“In the name of combatting discrimination, government officials excluded the church and preschool from serving the El Cajon community based solely on their religious beliefs and exercise. While it shouldn’t have taken a lawsuit to resolve this, at least now Church of Compassion can continue its vital outreach to needy children and families.”

For almost 20 years, the Church of Compassion and Dayspring Christian Learning Center has participated in CACFP, which allowed them to provide food for children in need who were enrolled in their daycare and preschool. The program allotted them between $3,500 and $4,500 a month.

While the ministry is Christian-based, several LGBT families have their children enrolled as well, showing that they do not exclude anyone in need from their programs. However, the church will not promote any message that goes against its beliefs.

According to Galus, the Biden administration’s change in the definition of gender is what started the case.

Since Title IX prohibits gender discrimination, it means that the church cannot discriminate against someone’s gender identity. The church believes that there are only two genders, so referring to any employee or student who doesn’t fit their gender at birth goes against its beliefs.