Later this year, California governor Jerry Brown may sign legislation with numerous harmful repercussions for the Golden State’s Christian colleges. The state is currently moving closer to adopting a bill that would subject religious higher-education institutions to regulations forbidding them to act on their religious tenets if their students receive state grants to support their studies. SB 1146 “could destroy the ability of numerous faith-based colleges and universities to pursue the mission for which they were created,” warned Ed Stetzer, the executive director of Wheaton College’s Billy Graham Center for Evangelism, in a recent post reporting on an earlier draft.

The bill has received considerable criticism from legislators and college presidents. Fresno Pacific University president Richard Kriegbaum wrote in early June that the bill “would severely restrict the free and full exercise of religious freedom granted by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.” According to Asuza Pacific University president Jon R. Wallace, the bill “significantly reduces religious freedom” and “would effectively eliminate faith-based institutions as a choice for California’s most disadvantaged students.” “SB 1146 seeks to divest us of our religious distinctives,” and “weaken the rich educational diversity of our state” wrote Biola University president Barry H. Corey in letter to faculty and staff.

In spite of that critical response, a newly revised version of the proposal passed a legislative committee last week and will likely reach the final stages of approval in a few weeks. Just what exactly does it say, and what would be its ...

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