A bill proposed in the California senate could deprive Christian colleges of their 1st Amendment rights to freedom of religion ostensibly to protect LGBT students from discrimination.
Senate Bill 1146, which is sponsored by Democratic senator Ricardo Lara, would exclude a number of colleges from religious exemptions from Title IX requirements unless they are specifically training students to enter religious education or are training to become a minister or work in some other religious field.
Students at Christian colleges would also no longer have to attend religious classes or attend worship services as part of their studies.
“These institutions would no longer be able to require chapel attendance for students, an integral part of the learning experience at faith-based universities [and] would no longer be able to require core units of Bible courses. Athletic teams would no longer be able to lead faith-based community service programmes,” Biola University told Christian Today.
Lara meanwhile said in a press statement that the bill would “close a loophole that allows private universities to discriminate against students and staff based on their gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation.”
In an op-ed for the Sacaremento Bee, John Jackson, the president of the William Jessup Society, argued the bill would have a “devastating impact on constitutional freedoms” as it “denies faith-based universities in California the ability to function based on religious beliefs and constitutional principles.”
“Although this may not be the intention of Sen. Ricardo Lara and his colleagues, the bill is discriminatory and violates the First Amendment and freedom of religion,” Jackson added.
The bill successfully passed the state senate and is must pass the Californian Assembly before implementation.