SB 1146 by Senator Richard Lara, a Democrat from Bell Gardens, now is being considered on the state Assembly. It would ban private Christian universities from requiring statements of faith that ensure the student’s belief system aligns with that of the university. It would require these private schools to admit students who hold beliefs anti-thetical to their Biblical world view.
It is the latest attack against Christians driven by the LGBT agenda and is, at its core, unconstitutional. The First Amendment guarantees the right to practice religion of our choice—no national religion. That’s why America has welcomed Muslims, Hindus and people of no faith regardless of the country’s Judeo-Christian heritage.
The freedom to practice also means that private universities, that take no public funding, should be free to follow their mission without interference from the government. Lara’s bill seeks to eliminate that constitutional right. If the bill was aimed at a publicly funded institution, the considerations would be different.
But this clearly is a giant abridgement of the freedom of religion. This was brought to my attention by John Jackson, president of William Jessup University in Rocklin (an institution with Bay Area roots and Bay Area classes). I learned about Jessup in 2013 and have become a huge fan of what it offers for students—including high rates of employability for graduates and less college debt compared to other institutions.
John wrote this in an email to supporters, “Faith-based institutions of higher education are making profound contributions to the intellectual and common good of society, contributions not in spite of but because of our deeply held faith convictions. Our presence in society enriches it rather than diminishes it. We provide economic vitality to our communities. Our graduates leave with servant-leader hearts. Our focus on ethics and integrity is inherent to all our programs. A disproportionate number of our graduates seek careers in public service or non-profit organizations. Why would California want to harm institutions like this?”
The bill is set for a hearing today in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
You can read more at Jessup's web site.