The looming assault by the State of California against religious freedom in education could easily be directed towards churches. We know the state has no power against the “spiritual body”. Against a human church organization, their threat would be serious.
As of July, 2016 a bill had been passed and awaits final approval that would remove present exemptions to “anti-discrimination” standards enjoyed by religious colleges, and impose on them similar guidelines now in place in public universities. The universities most affected are those that get government funds or enroll students who receive state financial aid.
The bill would allow the State of California to regulate restrooms, locker rooms and student housing at some 32 faith-based colleges in California. It would allow lawsuits to be filed that challenge prohibitions (such as those) against same sex relationships and cross-dressing, or a kosher-only menu in the dining hall, or the requirement for a profession of faith from students.
“It’s pretty far-reaching. It could potentially eliminate our ability to even pray before class or at events on campus” said Lee Wilhite of Biola.
“The law would impinge upon our ability to exercise our religious freedom … it opens up the ability for a student to file a lawsuit if they feel like, in any way, shape or form, they experience something at a school like ours that is offensive to them,” said John Jackson, president of William Jessup University.
“These universities essentially have a license to discriminate, and students have absolutely no recourse. Universities are supposed to be a place where students feel safe and can learn without fear of discrimination or harassment,” said the openly gay author of the bill Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens).
The law effectively limits citizens their freedom to assemble in California. It opens a pathway to crippling lawsuits and penalties against people of faith pursuing their freedom to educate their children according to biblical principles. Schools must either withstand the risk of such lawsuits or compromise the tenets of their religion.
The idea professed by Lara that without the law “students have no recourse” is absurd; it suggests students have a right to attend a private institution and then compel that its standards be modified to suit them, in effect, denying all other students the privilege of such standards.
Lara’s next comment betrays a contradiction: “Universities are supposed to be places where students feel safe and can learn without fear of discrimination or harassment.” Standards that are known and agreed to upon admission cannot retroactively be said to be threatening. A private institution exists to serve those who desire and approve of its standards. Those who seek other standards are free to seek admission elsewhere.
A private institution may choose not to receive public funding or student assistance but this does not immunize it against the threat of lawsuits. The real threat is not loss of funding, but rather the charge of “sexual or gender discrimination” and the lawsuit that may follow.
So Lara’s law really is an attack on the right of Americans to freely assemble. In this case, it seeks to deny citizens the right to pursue biblical principles in education. It enables someone hostile to the college to enter under false pretenses (initially professing satisfaction with standards) and then to challenge those standards in a legal system that presently is the enforcement arm of the secular movement.
The secular transformation of America is not limited to marginalizing God in education.
Since its inception, three institutions have coordinated to celebrate traditional values in America: the home, places of learning, and our churches. While the many churches in America disagreed on doctrine, Tocqueville observed:
“they all agree with respect to the duties which are due from man to man … all sects preach the same moral law in the name of God.”
The attack on religious freedom in education could easily be turned against churches. California often is the testing ground for the secular movement. Recall that the people of California easily passed the initiative that defined marriage as a union between man and woman, yet the result was overturned by the District Court, and the liberal state attorney general reneged on his duty to the people to challenge the ruling in the Supreme Court. Gay marriage is now the law of the land.
A similar “anti discrimination law” could be passed requiring churches to adopt standards approved and accepted in secular public institutions. Churches refusing to do so could face loss of their tax exempt status, effective reducing their income by the amount of the tax. Members could lose the tax exemption of their contributions. The threat of lawsuits from attendees, whether they are disaffected members or just guests, is very real.
Should Mrs. Clinton win this election, NO legal impediments in the general assault against religious freedom will remain. She once said “religious beliefs have to be changed”. The Constitution has ceased to be a guarantor of freedom of religion.
Wayne Grudem expresses what MANY legal analysts have noted and is obvious:
“A President Clinton could possibly nominate three or four justices to the Supreme Court, locking in a far-left activist judiciary for perhaps 30 or more years. She could also add dozens of activist judges to federal district courts and courts of appeals, the courts where 99% of federal lawsuits are decided. Judicial tyranny of the type we have seen when abortion rights and same-sex marriage were forced on the nation would gain a permanent triumph.”
Facing potential million dollar lawsuits, what would churches do?
Would they compromise?
Would smaller churches disband and meet in member’s homes?
What happens this November may be a turning point in America unlike we have ever seen since the Civil War.