[“Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory”]
CALIFORNIA, August 26, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Six of California’s largest Christian colleges and an association of California private schools support a bill that is designed to essentially remove religious schools’ Title IX exemptions and force the LGBT agenda on them.
California Bill 1146, which has been called “the most oppressive LGBTQ anti-religious proposal in the nation,” failed to pass after it was first introduced. An amended version passed the California Assembly on Wednesday, and is now before the state Senate.
Proponents of the bill say it is necessary to provide the public with information about faith-based institutions that receive federal funds and allegedly discriminate against or don’t provide adequate protections for students based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. The bill’s opponents warn it will “publicly shame” faith-based institutions and could be used to ultimately shut them down for their lack of compliance with the demands of the LGBT movement.
After lobbying against SB 1146, the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities (AICCU) agreed to support an amended version of the bill that critics say still threaten the freedom of religious colleges. Additionally, Pacific University, Biola University, Cal Baptist University, Point Nazarene Loma University, Westmont University, and William Jessup University — all Christian universities in California — came out in favor of the bill’s amended version.
The amended version removed a portion of the bill requiring universities to submit to the government a detailed report of each suspension and expulsion — which pro-family advocates worried would cause schools to come under fire for enforcing student conduct rules consistent with their religious missions.
The amended version still “left in major parts that would do extensive damage to religious colleges,” according to California Mass Resistance, a pro-family group that has aggressively protested the bill. The amended version is more compliant with federal student privacy law but would not eliminate university reporting on their Title IX exemptions.
More than 70 institutions are members of the AICCU, including Catholic schools like Loyola Marymount University, Dominican University of California, the University of San Francisco, the University of San Diego, Holy Names University, Marymount California University, Notre Dame de Namur University, Santa Clara University, and Thomas Aquinas College.
Jesuits run Loyola Marymount University, Santa Clara University, and the University of San Francisco.
“AICCU agrees that greater transparency and accountability, as called for by the Human Rights Campaign, and cited during the Education Committee, will be helpful and ensure that students, faculty, staff, and others, including policymakers, are aware of any United States Department of Education (USDE) Title IX waivers that have been sought and approved,” AICCU President Kristen Soares wrote in a public letter to state Sen. Ricardo Lara. The Human Rights Campaign is one of the nation’s most prominent homosexual and transgender lobby groups.
“Though the United States Department of Education has just published the list of colleges and universities that hold an active [Title IX] waiver, along with their request and the Department’s request, we also concur that asking the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) to make this information readily available will help ensure that anyone can and will be aware of such decisions,” Soares continued. “The reporting language and disclosures would be the first of their kind in the nation, and could act as a model for other states and the nation.”
Critics of the bill worry that it would ultimately lead to the end of the existence of Christian colleges because it would prevent them from being able to operate in accordance with the religions they were founded to teach.
Provided the amendments to the bill are adopted, we “stand ready to support your measure, improving transparency and accountability for all,” Soares concluded. “We are confident that the bill can in fact protect students’ interest both in their colleges choices[,] including faith-based institutions … and individual protections against discrimination; and can support the role all our private colleges and universities play in college access and the state’s future workforce.”
Equality California, a pro-homosexual group, has lobbied for the bill’s passage.
“Prospective students and their families and prospective employees of these institutions need access to … information” on how “institutions that claim exemptions under Title IX and California’s Equity in Higher Education Act do not provide the same levels of protections for their students as other colleges and universities, even though they accept federal and state funds,” Equality California maintains.
Azusa Pacific University, Biola University, Cal Baptist University, Point Nazarene Loma University, Westmont University, and William Jessup University used Soares’ letter to “[reaffirm] that their campuses are safe, loving communities for those who attend, and their agreement with the author that student safety and transparency for students, including those who are members of the LGBT community, is a priority.”
“We share the senator’s care and concern for LGBT students and believe that the disclosure requirements contained in the newly amended bill will further ensure that students select a campus community that is right for them,” said Jon R. Wallace, DBA, the president of Azusa Pacific University and the newly formed Association of Faith-Based Institutions (AFBI). “AFBI also recognizes the diligent effort of the AICCU team to represent and advocate on behalf of its private faith-based members, which contributed to this positive outcome.”
“AFBI believes Sen. Lara’s current efforts will not only protect LGBT students but also sustain” the partnership between the state’s education system and religious colleges, according to an Azusa Pacific University press release.
Not all of the faith-based institutions in California are Christian. Zaytuna College, a Muslim liberal arts college, is located in Berkeley.