Saturday, December 17, 2016

What California Conservatives Need to Learn from SB 1146 (from Daily Signal)

The Daily Signal (the media arm of the Heritage Foundation) provided an excellent review of what the faith community and churches in the state of California accomplished to stop the unprecedented assault on the First Amendment and the church communities.

Here's the article published about the fight over SB 1146:

Facing a maelstrom of grassroots controversy, state Sen. Ricardo Lara, a Democrat, said Wednesday that he would remove the portions of his bill, SB 1146, that would have harmed the right of religious colleges to operate according to their principles.

"Harm" is too kind a word. Ricardo Lara, working with anti-religious bigot Mark Leno, wanted to kill Christian colleges and shut down religious liberty in the state of California.

Under the previous wording, SB 1146 would have ultimately blocked low-income students from receiving Cal Grants, California’s system of need-based education aid, if they attended colleges with policies such as bathroom use based on biological sex that violated the state’s LGBT policies. It also would have enabled students who feel discriminated against in light of these policies to bring a lawsuit against their college.

This description forgot to mention that Lara's initial bill would have severely limited the Title IX exemptions for religious studies only. Imagine Christian colleges having to teach students that there are multiple genders, that two men can marry and that is normal, and that other sexual proclivities are accepable and normal, even though these demands are completely in conflict with Biblical and thus Judeo-Christian/Western morality.

“Without a doubt, the unmodified version [of the bill] would have jeopardized Christian institutions and egregiously penalized all students of faith, especially Latino and African-American individuals,” Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, said in a statement.

Racist Ricardo Lara

It's worth noting that the conservative groups stole the Left tactics and played the race card. Working the identity politics game forced the Democratic Party and their irreligious special interests to back off.

Conservatives who opposed the measure say they are relieved by this change, but some stressed that the current version of the bill, while less concerning, may still negatively impact religious colleges. Jackson mentioned a new amendment that would make religious colleges release data on expelled students—ostensibly to ensure they were not expelled for discriminatory reasons.

Here is the learning curve. The Christian colleges settled for whatever they had won, and then let the rest of the bill go through. The Daily Signal report was released before a further amendment removed the reporting requirement, which was found to violate federal privacy laws.

The only part remaining was the extravagant announcement portion reuire major notification about the Title IX exemption claimed by the Christian college.

That is still wrong, still onerous, and should have been killed outright.

“What we’ve indicated to the senator [Lara] is that we’ll have to review the bill and compare it to [Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act] regulations,” Jackson said.

But religious liberty activists say they are pleased to have an effective blueprint for success as that battle progresses, a blueprint that involves building national coalitions focused on preserving the rights of religious Americans.

It was a small victory of sorts, but not enough.

In addition to grassroots mobilization, conservative nonprofits also played a pivotal role in the controversy.

This mobilization must not go away, Already the state legislature is declaring war on parental rights! SB 18 has already surfaced, although pro-family activists claim that this law was in the works earlier this year, before the last legislative session ended.

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty publicized the fact that three of four students affected by the loss of Cal Grants would be low-income minority students, circulating a petition that quickly garnered 100,000 signatures.

100,000 signatures! That's a lot! Hopefully, the Becket Fund held onto the contact information to mobilize the troops for the fights to come.

With an open statement, Andrew Walker’s, the director of policy studies at the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, commission publicly opposed the bill with the support of a diverse group of advocates and thinkers both on the ideological left and on the right. Notable signatories included law professors, administrators at religious colleges, Hispanic and Islamic leaders, seminary presidents, Christian denominational authorities, intellectuals at think tanks (including three from The Heritage Foundation), and conservative magazines.

Mobilization! Mobilization! Mobilization!

The statement was publicly released on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Lara announced that he was changing the provisions.

This article also does not mention the money raised by a consortium of private colleges in the state of California, which had raised significant amounts of money and targeted key representatives with flyers. They raised big money and threatened their seats.

Further inside intel informed me that the individual legislatures got squeamish and told the bill author that they were not willing to vote for the bill. The embarrassment for Ricardo Lara would have been too great.

“I just think that this was a multifaceted effort that really showed what effective communication and strategy can result in,” Walker told The Daily Signal in a phone interview. “You get your national coalitions working with your people on the ground, coupled with strong messaging—and religious liberty, we found out, is not dead in California.”

The pro-family forces are beginning to organize, but they have a lot of catching up to. 

A lot.

Continued defeats on issues of individual conscience, Walker said, showed that advocates of religious freedom still have a long way to go. But as lawmakers nationwide begin to bicker over the limits of freedom of conscience for religious institutions, the changes to SB 1146 represent a heartening opening salvo.

“There’s one discussion about private citizens engaged in commercial acts, like the bakers and the florists and the photographers, but what we see here is that the ability to protect religious institutions and their religious integrity remains very intact and very strong,” he said. “We’re going to have to turn especially and fight on all fronts, and that includes institutionally. We had a large institutional win in California.”

Jackson and Walker also stressed that conservatives must remain vigilant to oppose similar encroachments in the future.

YES! And how about pushing back and demanding more protections for individual liberties?!

“The sponsor of this bill has said that he intends to study this issue at further depth, and possibly reintroduce legislation like this next year,” Walker said. “We’re not na├»ve to the fact that this is an ongoing battle.”

Final Reflection

Money, lists, contact information.

It;s time for the pro-family forces in the state of California to make everything happen.

State Senator Richard Pan pushed the forced vaccination nonsense onto the state of California. The law faces continued challenges in court, as it should. 

Republican opposition has not been that strong to begin with. It's all about the grassroots, it's all about the men and women fighting in their homes, in the streets, and in city councils to stand up to the Sacramento juggernaut!

We have accomplished some good, but there is still so much that has to be done.

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