About Our Church
Stop California Senate Bill 1146 Now!
A threat to religious colleges and universities.
Update 3: Thank you to all who have helped to oppose provisions in California’s Senate Bill 1146 that would have destroyed the religious freedom of religious colleges and universities. The offending clauses have been removed from the bill!
The remaining bill contains only “transparency” requirements that do not require colleges to change their policies, practices or beliefs, and do not expose them to additional lawsuits or the loss of Cal Grants.
This is a major victory this year, and it could not have been accomplished without massive public awareness and grassroots involvement. This is YOUR victory!
BUT…… yes, there is a big, huge, BUT! …. Next Year ….. !!!
We expect to face a renewed effort next year, and it may be an even tougher bill. For one, it is likely that restrictions on religious freedom will be renewed. It is also likely that a measure will be introduced to deprive religious colleges of Cal Grants. (Cal Grants go to students, not to the schools, but they can only be used at colleges that comply with “the rules,” which will be amended to insure the colleges subordinate beliefs about human sexuality to the will of the State.)
If you believe preserving Christian education in California is important, we hope you will join our grassroots network, receive our email alerts and bulletin inserts, and mobilize in your churches.
For more information, please call Dennis Seaton and Natalie Eva at 916-446-2552.
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Update 2: Senate Bill 1146 Update. SB 1146 has just passed out of the State Senate and has now been sent on to the State Assembly. SB 1146 got out with a party line vote: 25-13. There will be a number of State Assembly Committees that this bill will go to before going to the Governor so we do have some time to contact the State Assembly members and let them know that we Oppose SB 1146 due to the unintentional consequences to students and the state. Natalie Eva, Church State Council, Legislative Assistant in Sacramento.
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Update 1: Thank you to all of you who have contacted your legislators. Your voices have been heard, amendments are being made to the bill but we still need your letters.
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Many religious institutions of higher education integrate religious faith into all aspects of curriculum and campus life. Faculty and students alike are held to a moral code consistent with religious teachings. Prayer is often offered before class; religion classes required for graduation; attendance at worship expected of all students.
Moreover, in religious institutions, it is not only religion or theology faculty who promote the values of the faith – all faculty, staff and administration from the college president to the secretaries, janitors and maintenance folks are expected to live out their faith, and encourage one another in their walk with God.
SB 1146 would roll back existing protection for the religious character of such institutions by imposing, for the first time, the requirement that religious institutions “not discriminate” on the basis of religion… And all the other categories as well.
SB 1146 is vague. The mischief it might cause cannot be known precisely for that very reason.
One thing is clear: it applies to students. Students will be given a right to file lawsuits against any religious college that discriminates against them on the basis of religion. Currently, most religious colleges accept students regardless of their denominational affiliation, or lack thereof. If they decided to exclude students who might object to pervasive religious practices on campus, they could be sued for discrimination. If they admitted students of other faiths who objected to attendance at worship, or to prayer before class, for example, such students could also sue, and ask a judge to order the practice to stop.
The bill may apply to employees, as well. This is unclear. If it does, it almost certainly conflicts with a recent Supreme Court decision, 9-0, Hosanna Tabor, holding that the state cannot interfere with a church’s employment relationship with its ministers. In that case, an elementary school teacher in a Lutheran school was regarded as a minister.
If the bill does apply to employees, religious colleges and universities will lose the right to hire members of their own faith. Without this right, the institution effectively ceases to be religious, and eventually becomes almost entirely secular.
There is an escape clause: colleges can avoid the obligations under the bill by forsaking student grants, Cal Grants and Pell Grants. Some colleges might have to close down, with the loss of students and revenue. Others may be able to adapt, obtaining new funding sources.
In any event, California could expect a flood of students to apply to the U.C. and Cal State schools, where they can retain their eligibility for state and federal grant funds, rather than pay full tuition at private religious colleges. This will be a financial burden to the state, since these schools are already impacted, and cannot now graduate its students in four years, typically. California is not financially ready, willing or able to fund infrastructure and faculty needed to replace the loss of a significant portion of the private, religious sector.
If you’re interested, you can read the bill here. http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160SB1146 I warn you: it is confusing.
You can also read the analysis when the bill was before the Senate Judiciary Committee here. http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billAnalysisClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160SB1146
WHAT TO DO NOW!
For those of you who have a flexible schedule and are willing to come and testify at a hearing or if you are willing to make district office visits please call the Church State Council office at (916)446-2552.
Those who are more comfortable writing a letter or making a phone call you can find out who your Legislator is at the link below and it will direct you to their web page: http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/
All you need say or write is your name, city that you live in and that you are calling/writing to oppose SB 1146. Usually you will not be asked to give an explanation but it is wise to know the reasons.