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California is attacking ‘pluralism’ by attacking Christian colleges with LGBT mandate bill

Just another narrow-minded bigot.

Sounds like something a progressive voter would say about a socially conservative politician, right?

But it’s basically what a Christian college leader is saying about California lawmakers who support a purported anti-discrimination bill that would try to blackmail religious schools into violating their deepest convictions on sexuality.

In a post for The Gospel Coalition, Biola University President Barry Corey writes that SB 1146 seeks to enforce “ephemeral fads and philosophies du jour” on institutions explicitly designed to reject the shifting winds of culture.

Biola has gone farther than other schools in its opposition, publishing an opposition website and Corey making a 5-minute video denouncing the Senate-passed bill.

SB 1146 was tentatively scheduled for consideration in the Assembly Appropriations Committee Aug. 3, and it will get a vote in the full Assembly later this month, according to Biola’s most recent update last week.

MORE: Embrace transgender students or lose funding

Biola said it and other Christian colleges just hired another lobbying firm to work with lawmakers to shape the bill in their favor, on top of lobbying by its trade group, the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities.

Christian schools appear ready to play the race card to neutralize SB 1146 in the heavily Democratic Assembly: Biola’s update said that Corey and Asuza Pacific President Jon Wallace met with Southern California faith leaders, “including leading African American, Hispanic and Asian pastors and leaders, to strategize” about the bill.

The real victims are ‘poor minorities’

The Associated Press reported this week that the bill could “potentially” let students and employees sue their schools for civil-rights violations:

Currently, religious institutions can assign housing based on sex, not gender identity, and discipline students for violating moral codes of conduct, which can include anti-transgender or strict sexuality provisions.

One example of an activity the bill would seem to force on Christian colleges is the right of female-identifying biological males to live in women’s housing and use women’s locker rooms. Providing married housing on the same footing to homosexual couples as heterosexual couples is another.



Though it wouldn’t stop California religious colleges from accepting students using CalGrant (state) tuition assistance, a spokeswoman for the California Student Aid Commission confirmed to the AP it would “create a path to legal recourse for allegations of discrimination.”

MORE: Activists target religious schools with Title IX waivers

montse-alvarado.twitterThe biggest victims are non-white and low-income populations in California, according to Montse Alvarado of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, who told LifeSiteNews:

Three out of four students who would have their Cal Grant taken away by SB 1146 are poor minority students. And forcing poor minorities out of the religious colleges they chose to attend and into state schools will cost taxpayers nearly $100 million a year.

Principles that are ‘getting lost in these debates’

Yet religious colleges aren’t primarily upset about losing state money, Corey writes in his Gospel Coalition post: They are alarmed that the bill seeks to eradicate “a confident and coherent Christianity” that perseveres regardless of the “cultural zeitgeist.”

In an increasingly cutthroat world full of persons and nations only looking out for their own interests, we want to preserve the Jesus ethic that sacrifices for others and seeks first the kingdom of God. In a time of rapid change and great uncertainty, we want to preserve something solid and time-tested …

Corey reminds readers that the Christians under attack by their culture now were predated by unpopular minorities of all kinds through an American history dominated by Christian practice:

We are also fighting to preserve some important principles that are getting lost in these debates. One is the principle of pluralism. It’s the idea that society as a whole benefits when diversity of thought and tradition are upheld, as opposed to a “one size must fit all” homogeneity where one set of values is legally mandated for everyone (in SB 1146’s case, for every institution of higher education in California). Whenever dissenting communities and knowledge institutions are legislated into one acceptable moral orthodoxy, everyone loses.

California lawmakers don’t fundamentally understand that religion, including Christianity, does not stop at the church door or the seminary classroom, Corey says:

It’s an anemic view of religion that relegates it to the heads of believers and (maybe) the walls of churches and seminaries. But we know that following Christ is a whole-life endeavor. At Biola and schools like us, Christian faith is the foundation of everything. It’s in every major, from biology to business to journalism and psychology. It’s in our community standards and housing policies, which are in place to form students in a distinctly Christian way.

For a detailed description of the latest version of the bill, see this Aug. 1 report by the left-leaning Religion Dispatches, a project of the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School.

MORE: Christian college invites the feds to make it allow men in women’s housing

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IMAGES: Hans Splinter/Flickr, Ville Miettinen/Flickr, Montse Alvarado/Twitter

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Greg Piper served as associate editor of The College Fix from 2014 to 2021.