UPDATE: With the passage of SB 1146 last month by the California State Senate, it is imperative we accelerate our opposition efforts:
- First, be sure to read our latest blog post on SB 1146, with key updates for the religious schools under threat.
- Second, take action by using California Family Alliance’s Action Alert to contact your California State Assemblymember to urge them to oppose the bill.
- Third, join our email list for the latest news and updates on SB 1146 and key issues facing California.
- Finally, please consider making a donation to help support our work in California.
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
Original post from May 13, 2016:
We want to tell you about a critically important (and completely awful) bill that is slithering its way through the state capitol in Sacramento: SB 1146. This bill is intended to force religious colleges and universities into a dreadful choice: either give up all state funding and state financial assistance for their students, or give up any ability to maintain the school’s religious convictions and institutional identity.
The chief mechanism of this law is to restrict the non-discrimination exemptions that religious colleges and universities possess for student admissions, student life, and conduct codes for students or faculty/staff. Secular colleges are not allowed to discriminate against students on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, religion, and a variety of other categories. In this way, they follow similar standards applied to businesses in the Civil Rights Act and other nondiscrimination laws.
Religious colleges, however, are exempt from these nondiscrimination requirements. Why? Because these schools need to be able to integrate their faith into every aspect of their curriculum, student life, and educational requirements. Requiring students to take courses in Christian theology, beginning classes or convocations with prayer, offering credit for missionary activities, or maintaining Biblically-based student conduct codes would be deemed religious “discrimination” in a secular school, but is simply the norm within a Christian school.
SB 1146 would change all of this. If a religious college or university receives any form of state assistance (as almost all do), the school will no longer be able to discriminate in this way, except in specifically theological faculties. “State assistance” includes any participation in the Cal Grants or Pell Grants programs, which provide critical financial assistance to lower-income students.
The intent of this bill is transparent: to target Christian schools that maintain Biblical beliefs on marriage and sexuality, and to use the threat of losing government funds to force them to change those beliefs. It puts schools into a terrible predicament. If they maintain their beliefs, their prospective students will not be eligible for Cal Grants, and the schools will suffer significant financial loss. If they give in to this requirement, they compromise their core principles.
This bill will have a profoundly negative impact upon students, particularly low-income students. Because a large number of religious schools in California will opt out of state funding, thousands of students will shift into the already-overcrowded CSU and UC systems.
California Family Council is committed to keeping you informed about these issues, and fighting for religious liberty. Please continue to pray for our state.