Shortly after religious leaders sent an open letter demanding that California lawmakers protect religious liberty in higher education, the architects of Senate Bill 1146 dropped their proposal to restrict religious institutions from enforcing exceptions anti-discrimination laws around sexuality. The bill would have held religious institutions accountable for regulations that they emplace; according to the Los Angeles Times; “Under state Senator Ricardo Lara’s amended bill, schools must “disclose if they have an exemption and report to the state when students are expelled for violating morality codes.” In the wakes of introducing the bill, it was understood that only religious colleges who received funding (private institutions receive funding via Cal Grants) would be restricted from enforcing codes of student conduct reflecting a college’s religious beliefs about sexual identity. In all the cases this law would interrupt schools from teaching based on their Biblically based doctrines. Under this format, schools would not be able to teach students that marriage is between a man and a woman, sex is only good outside of marriage, context of gender identity, and would force them to have unisex bathrooms for the transgender community. This has been one of the hottest topics that have been debated around the California Senate for this past summer. The issue of LGBT rights has been one of the most highlighted issues throughout the country. From Caitlin Jenner winning the Arthur Ashe award, government worker Kim Davis denying gay marriage licenses, and most recently the North Carolina discriminatory laws that favors private businesses.
There were tons of reactions in the Christian education community. The morning the bill was dropped, Biola President Barry Corey spoke out against the proposal throughout the summer. “It would be a step backwards if California, a state that has long been a leader in diversity, inclusion and pluralism, could not find a way to value and honor the religious freedom of Christian universities, like Biola, while at the same time respecting the dignity of our students,” Corey said.
In addition to restricting administration and faculty from discriminating against one's sexuality, the bill also would have barred institutions from potentially barring standards of belief and conduct for faculty on campus and the classroom. This reconstruction of the bill is where it draws the line on religious liberty. I am all for protecting people from distinction, but I am strongly against the government enforces regulation on private institutions, especially religious institutions. By taking away one's right in order to potentially prevent someone else's rights for being abused is hypocritical. This bill attempted to destroy the culture of religious university to serve potential justice for a few. According to a Christian today poll, only 4% of the Christian population is LGBT. So attempting to alter the faith based life of religious universities that many students chose to be a apart in order to satisfy a few is senseless. In addition, the law makers of Senate Bill 1156 didn’t show a large sample of students who have been discriminated for their sexuality at Christian colleges. This is just another example of politicians shoving their agenda down people’s throats. As young adults, when making a college decisions students know what they are getting into. If a student doesn’t like the school they are part of, they can always make a decision to transfer. There is absolutely no need for government intervention. As a student from a Christian University, I love that my school drives its core beliefs from the Word of God. It is one of the reasons why I went to school there, and many other Christian college students would say the same.