AACC CounselAlert 6-23-16: California Senate Bill 1146 Poses Threat to Christian Colleges and Universities

AACC CounselAlert 6-23-16: California Senate Bill 1146 Poses Threat to Christian Colleges and Universities


AACC CounselAlert 6-23-16


California Senate Bill 1146 Poses Threat

to Christian Colleges and Universities


The state of California, due to its size, association with the entertainment industry, accompanying celebrities, and huge economic impact has long lead the nation as a cultural trendsetter. Recently, a very controversial piece of legislation passed the state Senate, and is expected to clear the General Assembly, which has potentially draconian implications for Christian religious freedoms and previous constitutionally protected civil liberties.


Among other things, this bill seeks to limit the religious exemptions from federal Title IX regulations that colleges and universities use for hiring instructors, teaching classes and conducting student services in line with their constitutionally protected exercise of faith. The author of the bill, Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, is part of the state legislature’s seven member California Legislative Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Caucus, which advocates specifically for LGBT rights.


Lara stated, “All students deserve to feel safe in institutions of higher education, regardless of whether they are public or private. California has established strong protections for the LGBTQ community and private universities should not be able to use faith as an excuse to discriminate and avoid complying with state laws.” Thus far, he has refused to give audience to, or compromise with, the potentially affected 42 Christian colleges and universities requesting to meet with him to discuss the implications or proposed modifications of the bill.


The straightforward implications of this legislation would mean:

  • Christian colleges and universities will no longer be able to require a profession of faith for their students or faculty
  • Schools will no longer be able to integrate core tenets of their faith throughout their curricula, a key distinctive of most institutions of traditional higher Christian education
  • Schools will no longer be able to require chapel attendance, an integral component of the life of a Christian college or university community
  • Schools will no longer have the freedom to allow professors or administrators to pray in class or student assemblies, including graduations, and will be vulnerable to lawsuits if a student expresses offense or protest
  • Schools will no longer be able to require mandatory core units of Bible courses—again, a key part of a traditional Christian higher educational experience
  • Schools will no longer be able to permit their athletic teams to lead faith-based community service programs
  • Schools will no longer be able to maintain distinct gender specific restrooms, shower facilities or dormitories—if a student self identifies as different from their biological gender, the school must accommodate his/her request to use opposite gender facilities and live in opposite gender housing


Obviously, if this bill becomes law, it will dramatically affect the ability of Christian colleges and universities to function in a traditional and straightforward Christian manner. Thus, it threatens every practice that makes religious institutions of higher learning distinct from secular ones.


As Christian counselors, it is time for us to energize, organize, galvanize and mobilize the Christian community with a clarion call to pray and act according to our remaining freedoms, both as citizens of this great country and the heavenly kingdom. We must find meaningful and respectful, yet authoritative, avenues through which we can respond, invite dialogue, mediate, and find workable ways to navigate through these complex and concerning issues confronting

our society and profession.


*** AACC Advocacy — What You Can Do ***


If you have interest in helping formulate a Christian counselling and mental health advocacy board in all 50 states, we are taking initial steps to mobilize such an entity in each state and create a national advocacy team for our field of ministry. We are looking for academics, researchers, clinicians, ministry leaders, and other experts related to our field to be involved.


The time to convene our hearts and minds is now, for such a time as this. Our initial goal will be to have an exploratory organizational meeting with these leaders at the Mega National Christian Counseling Conference in Dallas from September 15-17, 2016, and a full convocation at the 2017 “Break Every Chain” World Conference in Nashville from September 27-30.


Please send me your thoughts on, and interests in, how you can be involved, along with your prayers. Many continued blessings for you all, both personally and professionally.


Rev. Jared Pingleton, Psy.D.

Vice President of Professional Development