On the verge of a precedent that should not be set.
The California legislature is poised to consider legislation that could destroy the ability of numerous faith-based colleges and universities to pursue the mission for which they were created. SB 1146, one of two similar bills recently introduced into the California legislature, would essentially restrict fully faith-based education to seminaries.
If passed as is, this bill would strip California’s faith-based colleges and universities of their religious liberty to educate students according to their faith convictions.
The proposed legislation seeks to narrow a religious exemption in California only to those institutions of higher learning that prepare students for pastoral ministry. This functionally eliminates the religious liberty for students of all California faith-based colleges and universities who integrate spiritual life with the entire campus educational experience.
Biola is one of the schools potentially affected if SB 1146 is passed into law. Barry Corey, the president of Biola, expressed his concerns to me via email while on his way back from Ethiopia:
California’s faith-based colleges and universities make profound contributions to the common good of society, not in spite of but because of our deeply held faith convictions. 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.
Richard Kriegbaum, president of Fresno Pacific University, writes on the school blog:
Stated very simply, SB 1146 would severely restrict the free and full exercise ...