Last month I alerted the LPC community to a looming governmental threat to our Christian mission and biblical convictions in the form of California Senate Bill 1146. I called on all California residents to speak up on behalf of Life Pacific College and more than 40 other faith-based institutions of higher education in California. Further, I called on all alumni and friends of LPC, in every state, to fervently pray for God’s intervention. A helpful analysis of the implications of the bill (as amended on June 29) can be found in this Christianity Today article.
Unfortunately, recent attempts at amending the SB 1146 have only made things worse for religious freedom and this bill is considered a clear and present danger to LPC and our friends in Christian institutions throughout the state. SB 1146 creates regulations encouraging frivolous lawsuits against Christian universities and colleges. It opens up the college to be labeled as discriminatory against LGBTQ students simply for holding to our faith, religious values and code of conduct.
Some have characterized SB 1146 as “a solution in search of a problem.” Existing law (California’s Equity in Higher Education Act) already forbids unjust discrimination, allows student choice, and does not intrude on the freedom of faith-based universities and colleges to set policies consistent with our religious principles. Life Pacific College is fully compliant with existing law and does not discriminate in our admissions policies or procedures. For progress to be made, the nature of the conversation needs to shift from talking about discrimination (because LPC is not a discriminatory institution) to talking about student choice and religious freedom.
Making matters worse, the bill would affect the Cal Grant and therefore, be extremely detrimental to lower income students and the growing diversity of our LPC campus. The bill’s author, Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), says that SB 1146 is not intended to affect Cal Grants, religious exemptions for admissions, certain other religious practices regarding students, or employment practices.
In reality however, SB 1146 as currently written does pose a significant threat to our students receiving an affordable education by limiting access to state funds such as the Cal Grant.
The bill has passed through senate committees and through two of three state assembly committees. Next, the bill is scheduled for the assembly appropriations committee on August 12, will go to the assembly floor, and then to the governor. If passed in its current form, SB 1146 will likely subject the state to years of costly but completely avoidable litigation over the rights of its citizens to freely exercise their religious liberty.
LPC has joined forces with other Christian colleges and universities to vigorously oppose SB 1146 even if Governor Jerry Brown ultimately signs it. The next step for SB 1146 is the Assembly Appropriations Committee on August 3, followed by a vote in the full Assembly later in August. We need your help in opposing this bill.
If you are active on social media, we encourage you to spread the word about the unnecessary encroachment of SB 1146. Visit OpposeSB1146.com for suggested Facebook and Twitter posts as well as sample artwork for your posts that will help rally support for LPC and Christian faith-based higher education in California.
Finally, we encourage you to share this information with your families, friends at church and work, and with others who value religious freedom. In my initial request for your help last month, I offered additional ways to reach out to California lawmakers and I encourage you to review that information and make your voice heard.
God is at work in the lives of students at Life Pacific College. Thank you in advance for helping us speak up for our students and for helping us preserve for generations to come quality Christian higher education at LPC.
What is SB 1146? Read it here - All About SB 1146
By: Jim J. Adams, Ed.D., Life Pacific College President