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Oppose SB 1146

August 29, 2016 Update

Senate Bill 1146 has gone through a long series of amendments since first being introduced earlier this summer. The bill in its early form would have subjected faith-based colleges and universities that were accepting Cal Grants and other government funding to comply with the same laws relating to the LBGTQ community as their secular counterparts. Although West Coast Baptist College does not accept (and never has accepted) government funding, we have stood with other faith-based colleges in opposition of this bill, because it goes directly against free exercise of religion guaranteed in both the United States and California Constitutions, and this bill would violate the mission and practice of institutions to require their faculty, staff, and students to live according to the dictates of God’s Word.

Over the summer, the bill has had some of its most concerning verbiage changed, and, in its present form, it has been passed by the California Assembly and most likely will reach the Governor’s desk soon. Most of the faith-based schools previously in opposition have supported the bill as it is currently written. Senator Lara who introduced the bill, however, intends, according to the Los Angeles Times, to reintroduce the dropped provisions in a future bill.

As a Baptist college, we believe, along with our spiritual and civil forefathers, that the Bible is to be our sole rule of faith and practice. It appears today that culture is fine with the government keeping religion out of government. When someone wishes to pray or read the Bible in a public or government venue, there is an immediate cry of, “Separation of Church and State.” There is, however, no outrage when the same government wants to interfere with the beliefs and practices of a church or faith-based organization.

The Bible, as our God-given guide of faith and practice, is clear about sexual identity and relationships. While every person, whether they agree or disagree, is to be treated with dignity and worth, it would be hypocritical for a Baptist school such as ours to condone that which is clearly forbidden in God’s Word.

We need to pray as never before that God will send a revival to our nation. The choice is simply two-fold: “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34).

July 1, 2016 Update

West Coast Baptist College has continued to diligently follow what has been happening in the California Legislature with Senate Bill 1146 and has had staff in Sacramento working on these matters. This bill presents extremely grave concerns for Christian colleges throughout the State of California concerning the issue of homosexual and gender rights. The bill passed the Judiciary Committee with all of the legislators voting along party lines, with one exception who declined to vote.

Because of an amendment placed in the bill, Christian colleges who do not receive government funds are exempted from its provisions at this time. This is a great blessing as West Coast Baptist College has never received any government funds.

When the Legislature reconvenes in August, this bill will once again be the subject of a contested debate as it is trying to put its provisions on all Christian colleges. Please keep praying for this bill's defeat, and be sure to correspond with your legislator when the bill will be up for a final vote later this year.

We will keep you posted with any further developments.

A Broad and Unconstitutional Sweep against Religious Liberty—Senate Bill 1146

In current deliberation among California legislators is Senate Bill 1146. We are gravely disturbed by this bill that strikes a direct blow to religious liberty and severely infringes on personal freedoms and the freedoms of Christian institutions in California.

The so-called “Equity in Higher Education Act” is designed to erode the free exercise of religion given us in both the United States Constitution and the California Constitution, by limiting the involvement of colleges to have students, faculty, and employees live according to the dictates of God’s Word.

This bill reads, in part,

"Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit discrimination on the basis of disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, nationality, race or ethnicity, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic that is contained in the definition of hate crimes set forth in Section 422.55 of the Penal Code, including the perception that the person has any of those characteristics or that the person is associated with a person who has, or is perceived to have, any of those characteristics."

West Coast Baptist College is staunchly opposed to this bill that erodes religious liberty and opens the door for the state to impede our purpose of “training laborers for the harvest.”

As Bible-believing Christians, we believe that every person is made in the image of God and is thus worthy of and should be treated with respect. We welcome students of all nationalities, ethnicities, and backgrounds. We cannot, however, change our biblical convictions regarding morality and adherence to a biblical moral code.

SB1146 purports to protect against discrimination. This bill, however, is a form of discrimination against religious liberty itself. In the words of Senator John Moorlach, “Restricting private institutions from adhering to its religious beliefs is a violation of their First Amendment rights and an act itself of intolerance.”

The Constitution prohibits laws which impede religious and biblically-held beliefs. Christian colleges for hundreds of years, have had biblically-based codes of conduct prohibiting extra-marital sex and other activities prohibited by Scripture.

Not only would this bill impact an institution’s ability to hire or retain staff and accept students based on faith-based practices and morality, but it would impact students themselves who wish to seek education at an institution that aligns with their beliefs. If passed as law, this bill would reach into the dorms, locker rooms, restrooms, and even the academic and spiritual programs of institutions. The bill also creates a system whereby faith-based institutions must report their beliefs before the state, in essence, for approval.

Although West Coast Baptist College receives no funds from the state of California, we adamantly stand in opposition to SB1146 as a gross overreach of government and a direct violation of religious liberty and personal freedoms. We ask you to help us stop this bill as well.

What You Can Do

1. Contact Legislators

SB1146 has already been passed by the California Senate and was sent to the California Assembly. It is now in the Assembly Judiciary Committee where it is scheduled for a final hearing and vote on Thursday, June 30, 2016.

Our goal is to stop the bill at the Judiciary Committee. If this does not happen, it will then be presented to the Assembly for vote and returned to the Senate, and we anticipate it to reach the governor’s desk and be signed into law. From there, we are prepared to stand against this bill in the courts if need be.

However, the best time and place to stop this bill is now while it is in the Judiciary Committee. The Judiciary Committee is comprised of just ten members. We are asking that you would contact each of them today.

We ask that you call and email each member of the Judiciary Committee. Below is a suggested email and a suggested phone script. Also listed below is the contact information for each member of the committee.

2. Spread the Word

We also ask that you spread the word among other Christians, particularly those who live in California. Ask them to call and email as well.

You can also voice your concerns on social media. The website opposeSB1146.com provides suggested posts for social media including downloadable images and sample posts.

3. Pray

Finally, please pray. Proverbs 21:1 reminds us, “The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.” And Hebrews 11:33 tells us of Christians “Who through faith subdued kingdoms….”

We do not know what will come of this particular bill. We are confident that if it does pass it will be a significant and dangerous move toward government-imposed restriction on religious liberty.

Ultimately, we trust the Lord and know we will continue in the work of the Great Commission. Whatever comes of this moment, we do not want to be guilty of not taking action, and we ask you to do the same.

Suggested Email Text

Dear Assembly Member [Last Name],

I am greatly concerned about SB 1146. This bill violates the religious expression of students and faculty in religious colleges and universities and imposes on our constitutional rights, as the Constitution states that the government is not to make any law prohibiting the free exercise of religion.

For hundreds of years, Christian colleges have had a Bible-based code of conduct as part of their biblically-guided operational policies. Therefore, no need for this bill exists, as students should continue to have the freedom to attend an institution that aligns with their own religious beliefs, morality, and expression.

This bill infringes on the religious rights of colleges to act, and faculty and students to live, according to the religious and moral dictates of their faith. I ask you to vote against SB 1146.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]

Suggested Phone Message

Hello, my name is [your name], and I am a resident of [county], California. I want to urge assembly member [last name] to vote against SB 1146 in the Judiciary Committee hearing on Thursday, as this bill infringes on religious liberty. Thank you.

Members of the Judiciary Committee with Contact Information

Luis Alejo

assemblymember.alejo@assembly.ca.gov
(916) 319-2030

Ed Chau

assemblymember.chau@assembly.ca.gov
(916) 319-2049

David Chiu

assemblymember.chiu@assembly.ca.gov
(916) 319-2017

James Gallagher

assemblymember.gallagher@assembly.ca.gov
(916) 319-2003

Cristina Garcia

assemblymember.garcia@assembly.ca.gov
(916) 319-2058

Chris Holden

assemblymember.holden@assembly.ca.gov
(916) 319-2041

Brian Maienschein

assemblymember.maienschein@assembly.ca.gov
(916) 319-2077

Mark Stone (Committee Chair)

assemblymember.stone@assembly.ca.gov
(916) 319-2029

Philip Ting

assemblymember.ting@assembly.ca.gov
(916) 319-2019

Donald Wagner

assemblymember.wagner@assembly.ca.gov
(916) 319-2068

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