Dear Concordia family and friends,
I’m reaching out to you about proposed legislation in Sacramento, SB1146. On behalf of our Concordia family, I’m asking for your partnership on this critical—and urgent—issue.
As currently written, California Senate Bill 1146 (SB 1146), authored by State Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), would significantly challenge Concordia University Irvine’s—and all Christian colleges and universities in California—ability to continue offering a Christ-centered education to our students.
The most troubling provision of this bill limits the religious liberty to integrate faith and learning throughout the educational experience. The bill effectively eliminates the religious exemption under current law that allows Christian colleges and universities to operate in accordance with their beliefs, including the freedom to hire only Christian faculty and staff. If passed without amendments, the new law would also very likely disqualify students attending California Christian colleges and universities from eligibility for Cal Grants, a key state-level student aid program.
We have been working diligently with the support of the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities (AICCU) on amendments to SB1146. While Senator Lara and his staff have considered our points, as of this writing, the bill has not been amended to protect religious freedom.
SB 1146 has already passed the California Senate. It is scheduled to be heard this Tuesday (June 21) by the Assembly Committee on Higher Education before it reaches the Assembly floor for final debate and vote. We need to stop or convince the author to amend SB 1146 now, and this requires your immediate action.
How you can help
- Step #1 — Pray. Pray for this moment in California history when our deeply held beliefs are being challenged. Pray that Concordia is able to continue to educate students in a way that is consistent with our Lutheran Christian convictions.
- Step #2 — Spread the Word. Forward a link to this article to parents, students or alumni of faith-based colleges and universities, churches or others who value religious freedom for faith-based institutions. Anyone who has an affinity for faith-based higher education in California should know about this threatening bill.
- Step #3 — Contact Your Legislators.
- Email/phone calls. If you are a California resident, send an email or make a phone call to your California Assembly membertoday. Email them using the following format for their address: email@example.com (i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org). You may use this letter and make it your own. Whether by phone or email, the message is simple: Identify yourself and express that you have strong concerns about SB 1146, offering any reason you choose, or no reason at all. The important thing is to express your concerns about the narrowing of religious freedom this bill would impose on Concordia and all of California’s faith-based colleges and universities.
- Social media. Express your concerns about the bill on social media using hashtag #SB1146.
- Resources —To see my recent letter to Senator Lara, click here.
President, Concordia University Irvine