We’ve talked to you before about SB 1146, the bill that would restrict the religious liberty rights of colleges and universities throughout California. Simply put, this bill would prevent religious schools that receive state funding from performing actions that California deems “discriminatory” on the basis of religion. This would include things like requiring students to take certain theology or religious studies courses, requiring students to attend chapel, having corporate prayer in convocations or classes, mandating student moral conduct codes based in the school’s religious doctrine, and integrating religious faith throughout the school’s non-theological curriculum.
Obviously, these are normal activities that religious schools can and should legitimately do–in fact, a school that doesn’t do those things can hardly call itself religious! Out of an overwrought attempt to shield LGBT students from “discrimination” within Christian schools, SB 1146 would fundamentally damage a religious school’s ability to self-govern and to maintain its religious identity. This bill would forbid private colleges and universities from authentically serving their students according to their historic charters.
Now, a number of Christian colleges are joining California Family Council and our coalition partners in opposition to the bill:
- BIOLA University issued a statement opposing the bill, stating that it would “deprive tens of thousands of students of their access to a distinctly faith-based higher education.”
- In a recent blog post, Fresno Pacific University president Dr. Richard Kriegbaum called on FPU supporters to oppose the bill, saying, “We support the bill’s intent to protect students from harassment of all kinds. However, limiting the religious freedoms of Christian and other religious institutions is not the way to accomplish this goal.”
- In an op-ed piece published this week in the Sacramento Bee, Dr. John Jackson, the president of William Jessup University, joined in opposition to SB 1146. “We work hard at providing students a diverse, respectful, safe and challenging environment to learn and prepare for life,” said Jackson. “The passage of SB 1146 would destroy that time-honored foundation and undercut the very fabric of higher education, which advocates for freedom of opinion and discourse.”
- Finally, in an open letter to students, faculty, and alumni, the President of Life Pacific College Dr. Jim J. Adams acknowledged that “it is unusual for LPC to reach out to you regarding legislative issues, but a proposed bill in the California Senate could significantly challenge our ability to provide students with an education in keeping with our Christian mission and biblical convictions.” Dr. Adams then urged supporters of religious education to “voice concerns to your California Assembly member regarding Senate Bill 1146, urging them to preserve our ability to fulfill our longstanding mission based on religious beliefs and constitutional principles.”
What can be done?
Our sister organization California Family Alliance has produced an Action Alert for individuals to contact their California State Assembly representatives to urge them to oppose the bill.
Thank you for fighting on behalf of religious liberty in our state!
Due to its extreme danger to Religious Liberty, SB 1146 is now receiving significant national media attention. Here are just a few notable examples:
- A Study in Scarlet Letters | Tony Perkins / Family Research Council Action
- California’s Culture War against Religious Liberty | Andrew T. Walker, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
- Anti-Christian California | Rod Dreher, The American Conservative
- California Bill Threatens Freedom of Religious Colleges | Joe Carter, The Gospel Coalition