Monday, August 29, 2016

SB 1146: Massive Violation of Separation of Church and State

Save California has delivered a stunning analysis of SB 1146, legislation concocted by State Senator Ricardo Lara, which would confine, limit, then ultimately limit the the Title IX exemptions which Christian colleges claim.

They do not conform their views and values with the secular world, nor should they.

These schools have every right to engage in whatever practices they choose and should not face oppression or bullying from the federal government.

Here is Save California's analysis of a very bad bill:

SB 1146, as amended Aug. 19, still harms religious freedom.

The August 19 amendments to SB 1146 still
contain most of the problematic sections of the
bill, which continue to harm religious freedom by
giving the State unprecedented, unconstitutional,
and subjective control over religious matters.
As such, SB 1146 violates “separation of church
and state” and the religious freedom guarantees of
both the U.S. and California constitutions.

A new 8/19/16 amendment made the bill worse.
Even though current state law says a religious
organization is in control of its postsecondary
educational institution, SB 1146 now puts the
State in control -- by requiring a religious college
that is exempt under Education Code § 66271
to justify “its basis for having the exemption.”

Inserted is Section 2(a)(2), reading: “Beginning
with the 2017–18 school year, each postsecondary
educational institution in this state not described
in subdivision (a) that has an exemption pursuant
to Section 66271 shall submit to the Student Aid
Commission its basis for having the exemption.”

Yet Education Code § 66271 reads: “This chapter
shall not apply to an educational institution that is
controlled by a religious organization if the
application would not be consistent with the
religious tenets of that organization.”

Why must a church now justify its own
religious doctrines to the State? Is the
religious organization in control of its
educational institution, as Section 66271
recognizes – or is the State in control of it?
Why is the State even examining the
“religious tenets” of religious colleges?
The previous problems in SB 1146 remain and
were not removed by the latest amendments.
The amended SB 1146 continues to state:
Section 1(a): Exempt religious colleges “shall
disclose … the scope of the allowable activities
provided by the exemption.”

Indeed, these developments are deeply disturbing

What if all “allowable activities” aren’t
listed and disclosed?
Or, what if all non-“allowable activities”
aren’t listed and disclosed?
How would the State objectively judge
whether “the scope of allowable activities”
listed by religious colleges means some –
or means all – of these religious colleges’
“allowable” or non-“allowable” activities?
What if a religious college disciplined a
student for violating a religious standard
that was not mentioned in the scope-ofactivities-list
provided to the State?

SB 1146’s mandate upon religious colleges –
“shall disclose ... the scope of allowable
activities provided by the exemption” –
creates a dangerous new government power to
subjectively inspect, judge, and enforce
compliance of religious colleges as to what is
“allowable” or not “allowable” on campus.
The amended SB 1146 continues to state:
Section 1(b)(1-4): “The disclosure required ...
shall be made in all of the following ways ... a
prominent location of the campus or school site ...
in written materials sent to prospective students ...
as part of orientation programs ... provided to
each faculty member … administrative staff …
support staff … each new employee…”
What if the disclosure isn’t satisfactorily
posted, presented, or delivered in the eyes
of the State?

So, what is going on?

Indeed, this is a good point to bring up ...

What if the disclosure isn’t viewed by the
State as being complete or accurate?
What mechanism is there to verify receipt,
so as to avoid future non-receipt claims?
The amended bill’s requirement that exempt
religious colleges “shall” post and distribute
their religious standards will be enforced by
the State’s subjective interpretations, due to
the bill’s vagueness. This sets up religious
colleges for inspections, complaints, and even
lawsuits claiming the information was never
provided (the bill has no receipt mechanism).
The amended SB 1146 continues to state:
Section 1(b)(5): “The disclosure shall be included
in any publication of the institution that sets forth
the comprehensive rules, regulations, procedures,
and standards of conduct for the institution.”

What if the “the scope of allowable
activities” in the disclosure is
unsatisfactory in substance, format, or
completeness in the eyes of the State?

Will there be inspections, search warrants,
or lawsuits to compel “proper” publishing?
The bill’s mandate that these religious colleges
publish their moral codes in “any publication” on
the topic invites State inspections, search
warrants, or lawsuits. Will the State compel
“proper” publishing if the Student Aid
Commission or California Attorney General isn’t
satisfied with a religious college’s “compliance”?
The amended SB 1146 continues to state:
Section 2(a): Exempt religious colleges “shall
submit to the Student Aid Commission copies of
all materials submitted to, and received from, a
state or federal agency concerning the granting of
the exemption.”

Why is the State requiring more than the
U.S. government’s letter granting a
religious exemption to Title IX? For
example, the State routinely recognizes
IRS letters granting tax-exemption to nonprofit
organizations. Why the requirement
to also submit “all” of the application
materials submitted by a religious college
that already has a Title IX exemption?

What if the State suspects not “all”
materials have been provided to it by
religious colleges claiming a federal or
state exemption? What kind of inspections,
search warrants, or lawsuits could occur?
The bill’s mandate that exempt religious
colleges provide to the State “all” their
application papers for an already-established
exemption makes the State a judge of the
quality and validity of religious exemptions. It
puts the State into the role of an investigator
and enforcer on religious matters.

The amended SB 1146 continues to state:
Section 2(b): “The Student Aid Commission shall
collect the information received pursuant to
subdivision (a) and post and maintain a list on the
commission’s Internet Web site of the institutions
that have claimed the exemption with their
respective bases for claiming or having the

Why should the State be elevated to a
position of judging the moral policies of
religious colleges, which, under SB 1146,
must try to justify “their respective bases
for claiming or having the exemption”?
On the state website, will exempt colleges
be labeled negatively or disparaged?

By requiring religious institutions to justify their
exemption, the State makes itself a judge of the
religious doctrines/ beliefs/practices of religious
colleges, which, under SB 1146, must attempt to
justify to the State “their respective bases for
claiming the exemption.” This subjective mandate
creates an official State prejudice against exempt
colleges, and in regard to Title IX exemptions,
has the State acting as if state law were supreme
to federal law. As written, SB 1146 clearly

violates “separation of church and state.”

Final Reflection and Update

After the August 19th hearing, a key provision had to be removed from the bill.

The state of California cannot force any institution to release the records of expelled students.

That is violation of federal privacy laws.

The bill is not dead yet, and the fight is not over.

Call your state senator, and demand that they vote NO! on SB 1146!

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