Christian Universities in the Crosshairs

Politicians lie. I have known this for years but the breadth and depth of political falsehood continues to amaze me. Politicians lie about their experiences, their agendas and even their beliefs. One of the common lies is about the purpose or impact of legislation. A current law being considered in California, SB 1146, is a law based on a lie.

SB 1146 is a law that has as its stated intent the elimination of discrimination against individuals who are LGBT which is currently a popular issue among progressive politicians. While this is the stated goal of the legislation its actual goal is more sinister. It is a major step in what appears to be a goal of crippling Christian Universities.

Many of the most prestigious universities in America began as religious institutions. When Harvard was founded in 1636 it trained Puritan clergy. Yale was founded in 1701 to educate ministers in the Congregationalist faint. Princeton was also a school for minsters when it was founded in 1746. Jonathan Edwards, the preacher whose ministry launched the religious revival known as the Great Awakening, was at one time the president of Princeton. Over the years these great universities have become increasingly secular, so much so that most Americans are not even aware of their religious heritage.

While religious training, in the classical, biblical sense ceased to be important to these institutions it continues to be valued by many Americans. A large number of private Christian Universities have come into being with the goal of providing young Christians with a university education in the context of a Christian worldview.

These colleges do not limit their education to merely religious instruction. While all include courses in the bible, they offer degrees in a wide variety of disciplines, including degrees in the biological and physical sciences, engineering, computer science and the humanities.

Students are attracted to these private universities for many reasons, both faith based and practical. Students are drawn to campuses that align with their personal values and beliefs. Codes of conduct and morality which discourage sex outside of marriage, alcohol use and other behaviors are attractive to parents.

It is these codes of conduct and morality that have drawn the ire of legislators in California. Schools that adhere to traditional Christian teachings will by definition be opposed to LGBT lifestyles. The obvious solution to this dilemma would be for those individuals who are of the LGBT persuasion to not enroll at a Christian university. This solution is obvious but completely unacceptable to California legislators. They are determined to force Christian universities to change their approach.

The proposed law would require all Christian universities not directly owned and operated by an established church, and whose students receive any form of governmental assistance, grant or scholarship, to notify all current and prospective students that they do not comply with federal anti-discrimination law under Title IX. This notification must be included in all handbooks, policies and recruitment packets sent to students. Failure to appropriately notify students is grounds for civil action.

It does not take a law degree to understand the ramifications of such a law. Individuals who disagree with a university’s moral stance will apply for admittance and sue if any mistakes are made. The same tactics that have been used against Christian baker’s and florists who declined to participate in same sex weddings will be wielded against the schools. The cost of litigating the inevitable lawsuits will be a significant strain on university budgets.

The only way a Christian institution can absolutely protected from such actions would be to end participation in government financial aid programs. As a large proportion ofstudents are dependent on these programs, the loss of this source of financial support would make Christian schools unaffordable and enrollment would decline. Christian universities are left with no viable options. They can deny their faith and their teachings or they can face financial distress and potential ruin.

California legislators have been fully educated on the ramifications of SB 1146. As a result no one can claim that the harm to Christian schools is an unintended consequence of well-intentioned legislation. The intention of the progressive legislators in California is clear. They want to punish those who do not share their worldview. Anyone who says otherwise is not telling the truth.


Thanks for reading. If you share my concerns about the impact of SB 1146, please share this post with others and consider contacting your state representative.