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Calif. Bill Threatens Religious Freedom of Catholic Colleges Over ‘Gender Identity’

source: https://cardinalnewmansociety.org/calif-bill-threatens-religious-freedom-catholic-colleges-gender-identity/

The freedom of Catholic and other faith-based colleges in California to operate in accord with their religious missions is being threatened by legislation in the state meant to force acceptance of a disordered understanding of human nature and human sexuality.

Senate Bill (SB) 1146 targets colleges that seek religious exemptions from California’s Equity in Higher Education Act and from federal Title IX provisions. The Equity in Higher Education Act prohibits colleges that receive state funding from making hiring, student housing, admissions and other decisions based on gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation. The Act also prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion.

Like Title IX, the Act allows colleges to request a religious exemption from certain provisions. But the bill working its way through the California legislature would dramatically limit legal protections to only those programs or activities offered by educational institutions that are training students for a religious vocation.

The bill’s author, Sen. Ricardo Lara, referred to the current religious freedom protection for private colleges in California as “a loophole” that needs to be closed, claiming these institutions “use faith as an excuse to discriminate.” Some controversial sections of the bill have been amended since first being introduced, but the legislation still poses a significant threat to the religious freedom of faith-based colleges.

The Cardinal Newman Society opposes such attacks on the free exercise of religion of Catholic colleges. While legislators no doubt hope to achieve some good with this bill, the legislation is deeply flawed, threatening Catholic education and fundamental First Amendment freedoms.

Two colleges recommended in The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College would potentially be affected by the legislation: Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, Calif., and John Paul the Great Catholic University in Escondido, Calif.

“SB 1146 is a direct and blatant attack on the religious freedom of Catholic and Christian citizens of California advanced the state’s LGBT legislative lobby,” Dr. Derry Connolly, president of John Paul the Great, told the Newman Society. “It severely impacts citizens constitutionally protected right to freedom of religion.

“Further, the argument of discrimination against transgender citizens by faith-based colleges and universities is greatly exaggerated and false,” he added. “The allegation of discrimination is the cover for what is truly an attack on religious freedom. This legislation must be opposed by all citizens who value freedom.”

Critics argue that the bill opens religious colleges up to unjust litigation, could leave colleges unable to accept state grants used to help students pay for tuition, and would eliminate the ability to operate under any faith-based principles.

Further examples of the potential impact of the bill include:

-Faith-based institutions in California would no longer be able to require a profession of faith of their students.

-These institutions would no longer be able to integrate faith throughout the teaching curriculum.

-These institutions would no longer be able to require chapel attendance for students, an integral part of the learning experience at faith-based universities.

-These institutions 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 programs.

read more at: https://cardinalnewmansociety.org/calif-bill-threatens-religious-freedom-catholic-colleges-gender-identity/