Our Voice

California State Legislature – Senate Bill 1146

I love California.

California is perhaps the most wonderful state in our union in terms of weather, geography, climate generally, magnificent views, wineries, the Bays of San Diego and San Francisco and so much more.

California is possessed of some of the finest people anywhere.  They are hardworking, possessed of good values and high morals, living productive American lives.

And then there is state capitol Sacramento.  In contrast to so many others Californians, California political, that is Sacramento is inhabited by some of the most liberal, radical, often bizarre legislators and politicians generally in our country.  The United States Chamber of Commerce terms California the most unfriendly, anti-business state in the union.  Law after law, often penal and of course full of regulations and new taxes, comes down on good, productive businesses.  And it seems as though Sacramento now is intent to be the leader in passing legislation which threatens religious liberty as we know it.  There comes now Senate Bill 1146, the purpose of which is intended to restrict Christian colleges and schools from DISCRIMINATING on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

Let me repeat that.  California Senate Bill 1146 would have as its fundamental purpose the restriction of Christian colleges and schools from DISCRIMINATING on the grounds of:

SEXUAL ORIENTATION

GENDER IDENTITY

GENDER EXPRESSION

So that, Christian educational institutions would not be allowed to discriminate, that is construct an admissions policy which excludes transgenders for example. That would also mean Christian colleges and schools would have to have bathroom admissions where an individual could choose which, male or female, he or she wished to use.

And of course, Christian colleges and schools would be required to allow members of the LGBT community, once admitted to live out their lifestyle, with full gender expression and orientation as the lifestyle allowed, no matter what the policies, values, beliefs or Christian morals of those educational institutions might be.

Bottom line, SB 1146 would punish a Christian school for upholding traditional Christian teachings.  Here comes a major test of the battle which Chief Justice John Roberts warned about when the Supreme Court found the Constitutional right in gay marriage, namely the head-on conflict between the first amendment rights of freedom of religion and the anti-discrimination rights and laws of our country, namely all things LGBT and of course gay marriage.

California Senate Bill 1146 would narrow the number of California colleges and universities that are able to claim exemptions from federal Title IX anti-discrimination law, applying any exemptions with respect to admissions or hirings only to seminaries and schools of divinity.  That could well mean that Christian colleges could face a loss of ACCREDITATION status with the State of California which would result in the students of those institutions becoming unable to qualify for state and federal grants and loans, and perhaps even tarnish the full credibility of any degree granted.  Hard to believe, is it not?  But such is life in Sacramento, the avowed champion so it seems of any and all legislation which anti-Christian purposes.

So far, requiring that all students and faculty submit to behavioral standards has not been viewed as discriminatory (exempt) on the part of Christian colleges that broadly cater to STUDENTS OF FAITH.  The fundamental tenets and beliefs of the educational institution are stated, students are expected to conform when they seek admission and that is granted, and disciplinary standards would apply if those standards were violated.  College faculty, administrators and staff generally would also be required as a condition of employment that each applies by the very same standards of conduct and behavior.  If not, employment could be terminated.  All of that, now says Senate Bill 1146 would end and those long held standards regarded as Constitutional for years and completely protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution would yield in favor of a non-Christian gay agenda, protecting the rights of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.  What a world.  Not enough, it is, for Sacramento that there are now full Constitutional protections for LGBT and sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression generally in society and the full State of California.  Christian educational institutions must give up their longstanding rights, value and morals no longer viewed as exempt as the onslaught of the gay agenda moves forward.

It is hard to believe that students wishing to attend faith-based colleges and universities in California could be denied financial aid or attend a university with tarnished credibility.  As though that were not enough, SB 1146 would also affect the careers of Christian college faculty and staff.  Many college professors would rethink their careers and the future of Christian higher education.  One professor even indicated that he feared he could be disciplined for discussing the Bible and Scriptural teaching on campus, or even offering a prayer before lecturing in class which some student may think offensive.  That would be the full effect of Federal Title IX anti-discrimination law, made even more punishing by SB 1146.

The possibility of this legislation led Scott Waller Chair of the Biola University Political Science Department to state the following:

“SB 1146 is a real test as to whether a state legislature (and most likely the court system) is going to impose the Supreme Court imposed orthodoxy concerning sexual orientation and marriage.  The effect of this bill is a direct challenge to long-standing exceptions for religious free exercise claims and, if enforced, would forever change the legal landscape for religious adherence both individually and collectively.  From what we have seen from the lower courts on this issue pertaining to Christian businesses within the wedding industry, this does not bode well for Christian higher education.
EVERY PERSON WHO VALUES RELIGIOUS LIBERTY IN THIS COUNTRY SHOULD BE CONCERNED ABOUT THIS BILL.”

And indeed they should.  And so am I and you, if you are Christian or believe in the fundamental freedoms of religion for all contained in the first Amendment no matter what you believe, should feel the same.

Scott Waller states so well that this bill if passed would be little more than a direct challenge, a major confrontation to the long-standing exceptions for religious free exercise.  The effects of the bill would be long-lasting and completely change the religious freedoms landscape of the once great State of California with respect to Christian and even generally faith-based education.  The legal ramifications would extend everywhere, perhaps even to private gatherings and associations, and perhaps somehow to churches or some church activities, and certainly sooner or later in typical California fashion, to business entities at large.  As Waller indicates, Christian businesses, including those providing services or products, like bakeries, to weddings, have already felt the effect of such legislation.  And in California and elsewhere, you can be sure that there is more to come.  There always is more to come from Sacramento.

A further problem is that California, it seems, is the leader in liberal and radical legislation and often sets precedent across the country.  OTHER STATES FOLLOW!  California law is cited as precedent and used as a model by other legislatures.  You can be certain that what Sacramento (SB 1146) will be legislated and implemented elsewhere (i.e. New York for sure).

Kurt Krueger, President of Concordia University Irvine, a university strong in the Lutheran heritage states the following about SB 1146:

“The most troubling provision of this bill limits the religious liberty to integrate faith and learning throughout the educational experience.  This bill effectively eliminates the religious exemption under current law that allows Christian colleges and universities to operate in accordance with their beliefs, including the freedom to hire only Christian faculty and staff.”

And indeed it would.  There would no longer be the right to integrate faith and secular or liberal arts learning in the educational experience, in short the end of CHRISTIAN EDUCATION that, again, includes all institutions of higher learning (universities and colleges) and also schools from kindergarten to 12th Grade.  And again, such faith-based educational institutions would no longer be able to hire CHRISTIAN PROFESSORS AND PERSONNEL generally.  No more Christian education.

Interestingly, SB 1146 is titled:

EQUITY AND HIGHER EDUCATION ACT

Yet the bill would only apply the equity to one side, taking away the equity, the rights of faith-based, Christian education institutions.  Under current California law, religious colleges and universities that receive state funds can be exempt from anti-discrimination laws.  Again, this bill would put an absolute end to that exemption in the name of equity for others.  The bill does grant a continuing exemption for divinity schools and seminaries but in return, targets all colleges and universities and schools generally which in any way are faith-based.

So, now it is time for all religious educational organizations and institutions to be courageous, even aggressive in their stance.  Policies, statements of behavior and belief, should be stated clearly and firmly.  That would include clear statements on sexual orientation and expression, and gender identity.  That would also include statements regarding single-sex bathrooms usage.  And that would surely include a firm statement of policy and belief that the definition of marriage for that institution is a union between one man and one woman.  And that would include firm statements with respect to belief including theology, morals, values generally and the conduct of behavior which those beliefs require.  The faith-based institution should be transparent, clear and require the full acceptance of the student to be admitted and the faculty and staff to be hired.

All such statements and exemptions could be full disclosed and prominently displayed on the university campus and especially the main administrative building.  Those statements of faith and belief should be embodied in written materials sent to prospective students.  The university or school could then assume and rely upon the fact that people who attend faith-based colleges do so because they embrace the rules, believe in the policies, and adopt the aspirations of the institution.  That would allow the institutions to stand firmly on all such exemptions which the Constitution in the First Amendment allows.

The integrity of faith-based educational institutions of all kinds must be maintained.  They are uniquely America, constitutionally protected, so necessary in a day and age of rabid secular education which is so often anti-faith and fully and uniquely American.  They must be preserved.  Sacramento Senate Bill 1146 must be defeated.  If it is passed in any form, it will result in the most aggressive litigation yet seen with regard to the clash of rights in the First Amendment and the aggressive championing of the First Amendment right to freedom of religion.

The battle is on, really on, people of faith and especially it seems Christian people of faith.  Put on the armor of faith and be ready to fight the fight of faith, my fellow Christians.  Christian education, wherever it is, however it is constituted would be forever changed or eliminated if this radical, unconstitutional Sacramento SB 1146 passes.  For a people of faith, this would be California legislation at its worst.  Don’t let it happen, Christian and Constitutional Californians.  DON’T LET IT HAPPEN!  Write, call, email, march and picket Sacramento and do everything possible to stop this legislation in its tracks.  Biola University is doing just that and so is Concordia University in Irvine.  And so is the California-based National Center for Law and Policy, and the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, and the California Family Council, and the California Family Alliance.  All of these champions of faith are lining up against this bill determined to stop it in its tracks and send the strongest possible message to Sacramento politicians.  Enough is enough.  I hope you will join with them.  Protect and defend the faith or see it gone forever in education in California, for at least 34 California universities and many more educational institutions as well.  As a person of faith, you are in this fight whether you want to be or not.

Crawford Broadcasting Company