by Scott Jaschik http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/09/04/texas "The Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday that the state could not require seminaries to meet certain standards as a condition of calling themselves seminaries and awarding certain degrees. The court ruled that the state regulation amounted to a violation of the religious freedom of three seminaries that challenged the regulations. “A secular educator’s meat may be a religious educator’s poison, and vice versa. Standards that improve the quality of secular education while impairing sectarian education discriminate against religion,” said the decision. While the decision was praised by the seminaries, others worry that it will give diploma mills a new way to evade state authority. The regulations in question in Texas — which apply to secular private education as well, and which were not challenged in that regard by the suit or the court — were part of a broad strategy to make it difficult for diploma mills to operate. The decision means that “any person who creates any church can issue any degree in what sounds like a religious subject,” said Alan Contreras, administrator of the Oregon Office of Degree Authorization, and a leading expert on state regulation of colleges. “Any employer must now assume that unaccredited seminary degrees issued in Texas are diploma-mill degrees unless the school can prove otherwise, and accept the potential liability of hiring such a person.” Sigh.