It’s happening here in California, and it’s coming soon to a state like yours.
This is a summary of the proposed law:
First, SB 1146 will require religious colleges and universities to adopt policies of non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in order for students to receive state-funded scholarships under the Cal Grant program. Secondly, SB 1146 will require these institutions to give notice if they have requested an exemption to Title IX. Thirdly, SB 1146 will permit lawsuits against institutions that are perceived to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation regardless of whether they accept the Cal-Grant scholarships. The bill will not apply to programs designed for students who want to become members of the clergy or other specifically religious careers.
In other words, the school’s freedom to follow its conscience will endanger monetary benefits for students. Also, schools have to inform the state if they apply for a federal exemption. Finally, students can sue if they believe they have been discriminated against, tying up valuable resources to reply to the suits.
These schools are following their religious convictions, not whims or hate.
I see nothing wrong with admitting students to a Christian school who adopt a lifestyle that runs counter to the moral law as spelled out in the Scriptures. It’s all about outreach. However, if a school declines to accept these students or does not place them in leadership positions (and I understand that one point), then this bill would endanger religious liberty as the ever-growing state absorbs more of our private and institutional religious lives.
What could motivate these lawmakers? The magazine Christianity Today offers this possibility:
There is a commonly held — and erroneous — belief that Christian colleges and universities are backward scientifically, repressive sexually, and inept socially. That such institutions are academically weak, Bible-thumping, 17th century good-old-boys clubs full of bigots and legalists. For those who hold such views, cutting off state or federal aid to these institutions, or to force them to shed some of their strongly-held Christian convictions, would be no great loss.
So anti-Christian bigotry is perhaps the main motive.
The Religious Liberty TV article goes on to point out ways to oppose the new law. It may simply go into litigation, as Christians have to fight and scrap to keep their way of life in the public square:
If passed, SB 1146 will face litigation as religious institutions contend that the state is unconstitutionally imposing a condition on religious institutions with the intent of pressuring them to compromise their free exercise of religion. The state could make a determination to only fund public schools with the grant programs, but when they open the program up to religious and secular private schools, the state cannot use this leverage to punish now grant-dependent religious schools that refuse to abandon their free exercise of religion.
Sue away, if need be; sue away. The fight is ongoing.