President Jim J. Adams | June 9, 2016

Office of the President

Life Pacific College

 

August 31 - Update
Senate Bill 1146 was heard and passed by the full Assembly last week. It returned to the Senate floor on Aug. 30 for concurrence to Assembly amendments. It passed with the final vote 25-13. The bill is now headed to the governor’s desk. Governor Brown has until the end of September to take action on the bill.

August 24 - Update
SB 1146 has been amended to address the significant concerns about its encroachment on religious liberty in California higher education. We are pleased that SB 1146 no longer removes the rights of faith-based institutions to freely exercise their religious mission as provided under current law. The new amendments also preserve Cal Grant access for students wishing to attend faith-based institutions. Senator Lara also removed those portions of the bill that we still found problematic--specifically, the requirement that only religious colleges would need to report to the state the reason for expelling any student.

Senator Lara removed this requirement thanks to the prayers and support of our community and friends as well as the intelligent negotiations from our California Christian colleges and the AICCU. We thank Senator Lara for his willingness to listen to the concerns of many Californians and amend this bill to protect students while preserving religious freedom.

August 16 - Update
SB 1146 has been amended to address the significant concerns about its encroachment on religious liberty in California higher education. Though some concerns remain as to the legality of certain disclosure requirements in the updated bill, we are pleased that SB 1146 no longer removes the rights of faith-based institutions to freely exercise their religious mission as provided under current law. The new amendments also preserve Cal Grant access for students wishing to attend faith-based institutions. Read the amended bill as of Aug. 15, 2016.

While there have been positive developments on the bill, this may simply be a reprieve as reported in The Atlantic. In addition, The Los Angeles Times reported, Lara intends to pursue further legislation next year, when he may reintroduce the provisions that he dropped this year. You can read more about the amendments made to SB 1146 here: Christianity Today.

We thank Senator Lara for his willingness to listen to the concerns of many Californians and amend this bill to protect students while preserving religious freedom. We thank you - our community, churches, and fellow Faith-based Colleges and Universities for standing with us in unity. 

Click here for a full update.

July 24 - Update
SB 1146 Messages: A Threat to Student Academic and Religious Freedom. I want to update you on SB 1146 and share some action steps you can take to help us prevent this bill from passing. California Senate Bill 1146 represents an unprecedented narrowing of religious liberty for faith-based institutions of higher education in California. A helpful analysis of the implications of the bill (as amended on June 29) can be found in Christianity Todayarticle.

Recent attempts at amending the bill have only made things more problematic for religious freedom in California faith-based colleges and universities. This bill is considered a clear and present danger to our institution and our friends in Christian institutions throughout the state. SB 1146 creates regulations encouraging frivolous lawsuits against Christian universities and colleges. It opens up the college to be labeled as discriminatory against LGBTQ students simply for holding to our faith, religious values and code of conduct. The bill would affect the Cal Grant and therefore, be extremely detrimental to lower income students and the growing diversity of our campus. For more information, see LPC’s website as well as opposesb1146.com.

The bill has passed through the senate committees and has passed two of three state assembly committees, and will go on to the assembly appropriations committee, the floor of the assembly, then to the governor. For progress to be made, the nature of the conversation needs to shift from talking about discrimination (because LPC is not a discriminatory institution) to talking about student choice and religious freedom.

LPC has joined with other Christian colleges and universities to work for a million-dollar campaign to stop this bill. LPC is contributing $30,000 to this campaign based on our enrollment. If the bill is passed and signed by Governor Brown, LPC will continue to work together with other faith-based colleges and universities in California to amend, reverse, or defeat in the courts. The Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities (AICCU) has been lobbying on our behalf in Sacramento for the last few months. However, just last week a group of schools hired another lobbying firm to work with key lawmakers in Sacramento towards an agreeable outcome on this bill. Additionally, LPC will explore exemptions in the bill as an institution preparing leaders for ministry regardless of the program.

The next step for SB 1146 is the Assembly Appropriations Committee on August 3, followed by a vote in the full Assembly later in August. We need your help in opposing this bill. Here are a few ways you can join us in this critical effort:

URGENT ACTION STEPS

  • Contact Assembly members. If you live in one of the California districts represented by your assembly member, please contact them today. A sample letter can be found here
  • Contact your pastor and spread the word to your congregation.
  • Share on Social Media. Share about the bill using hashtag #SB1146. Visit opposeSB1146.com for sample tweets and Facebook posts.
  • b>Voice your concerns at the Aug. 3 hearing in Sacramento. If you are available to attend the Appropriations Committee hearing on Aug. 3 to voice your opposition.

June 9th - Update
Dear LPC community and friends,
It is unusual for LPC to reach out to you regarding legislative issues, but a proposed bill in the California Senate could significantly challenge our ability to provide students with an education in keeping with our Christian mission and biblical convictions.

As the president of Life Pacific College, I am asking for your help today. I am asking each of you in our community to voice concerns to your California Assembly member regarding Senate Bill 1146, urging them to preserve our ability to fulfill our longstanding mission based on religious beliefs and constitutional principles.

SB 1146, introduced by Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), seeks to narrow a religious exemption in California only to those institutions of higher learning that prepare students for pastoral ministry. Although LPC serves this function, we also prepare men and women for careers in business administration, human development and counseling, and a variety of other fields. The bill is intended to protect LGBT individuals from discrimination in education, but has the unfortunate effect of restricting the religious liberty of all California faith-based universities that integrate faith throughout the campus educational experience. Our values and institutional policies compel us to ensure that all students are able to live, learn, and work in an environment that is free from gender-based harassment. What is at risk, if SB 1146 passes, are activities such as prayer, chapel services, faith-infused curriculum, required statement of faith for admissions, discipleship groups and required community service/ministry that are all an integral part of the educational experience for faith-based campuses like ours.

This bill, if it became law, also poses a threat to the ability of our students to receive an affordable education through access to state funds such as the Cal Grant. As many as 42 faith-based institutions of higher education in California could be impacted.

Action on the bill is expected as early as the week of June 20. If approved, the bill will then move to the Assembly - perhaps as early as this July - for a full vote. The best chance to stop or amend it is before it reaches the Assembly floor for debate and vote.

STOPPING SB 1146 REQUIRES IMMEDIATE ACTION

SB 1146 seeks to divest us of our religious distinctives.
HOW YOU CAN HELP STOP IT:

  • Step #1 — Spread the Word. Forward this to parents, your church family, students or alumni of faith-based colleges and universities, churches or others who value religious freedom for faith-based institutions.
  • Step #2 —Call or e-mail your Legislators. We have included a sample letter below for your convenience.
  • Step #3 — Social Media. Express your concerns about the bill on social media using hashtag #SB1146.
  • Step #4 — Pray. Pray for this moment in California history when our deeply held beliefs are being challenged. Pray that LPC is able to continue living and educating in ways that are consistent with biblical convictions.

Please email your letters to the The Honorable Jose Medina, Chair, Assembly Higher Education Committee assemblymember.medina@assembly.ca.gov. Please carbon copy (CC) the following individuals:

If you have any questions or concerns regarding SB 1146, or how you might express your opposition to the bill, please contact our Senior Director of Student Development, Joshua Arnold, at jarnold@lifepacific.edu. Your swift attention and response to this urgent issue is greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,
Jim J. Adams, Ed.D.
President

Additional Resources: