This is from Mere Orthodoxy, and it concerns Biola University, an evangelical university that specializes in Christian apologetics.
Biola University, located in Southern California and one of the country’s most well-known and prestigious evangelical colleges, now finds itself arguing for its right to be evangelical. The state legislature is seeking to amend a non-discrimination law which would stipulate that the only schools that can be granted religious exemptions to the non-discrimination statutes are schools that exist for the training of pastors and theological educators. Schools that offer more general programs—like a degree in humanities, engineering, or public education—would be required to submit to the non-discrimination law, effectively ending any legal protection for colleges and universities that want to only admit professing Christians or maintain campus-wide spiritual life programs.
The effect of the amendment would be to redefine religious liberty so as to make a clear distinction between institutions that integrate religious faith and public vocation and those that focus only on parochial training. Conceivably, supporters of the bill are fine with the idea of students receiving a religious education that teaches that marriage is the union of a man and a woman, and that sexual expressions outside this category are morally problematic—as long as this education is clearly not intended to go beyond the walls of a church service or a seminary lecture hall. Pastors and polemicists, yes. Business managers and brain surgeons, not so much.
Such a distinction is one that owes much to a faulty understanding, increasingly common on the Left, of what it means to be “religious.” Conservatives have warned for some time now of a serious attempt by sexual revolutionaries to make religious belief synonymous with religious worship; ergo, the private ritual of religion is what’s protected by “free exercise,” not the living out of such beliefs in the public square. The language desired by the California legislature feels like a clear substantiation of this concern.
Would the amendment protect students from discrimination? Certainly, the amendment would probably initiate the shuttering of several California colleges that LGBT activists would consider “discriminatory.” Because the non-discrimination law applies just as much to religion as it does to sexual orientation or gender identity, the language would essentially force Christian schools to relinquish their confessional identity—they could be sued, for example, for refusing to hire an atheist to teach sociology, or denying tenure to a New Age transcendentalist professor of comparative religion. What sounds like fairness to many progressives is in reality the dismantling of the idea of Christian education.
The California Democrats don’t want people to have a Christian worldview outside of the doors of the church or school. You might remember that Obama himself has tried to push this view that there is no knowledge content to Christianity, that it’s just about church worship and having feelings of comfort. Democrats are fine with privatized religion like that, but not with practical application of what the Bible says, across all disciplines, out in the real world. They want to stop that, because they want to rule everything outside of the church walls.
What was really interesting to me is how the article noted that even at Biola University there are gay activist groups pushing the gay agenda. It can be very tempting to people to swing towards liberal opinions when they don’t have any grounding in facts. Is Biola doing a good job of sharing pro-marriage arguments and evidence to students? Why not make it mandatory that every student has to read books like “Truth Overruled?” by Ryan Anderson? If Christianity is just about reading the Bible and being nice to others, then there will be a falling away from Biblical moral values. Those values are not popular with the feelings crowd, and “the Bible says” does not stand up to the hurt feelings of sinners in a culture obsessed with feelings over moral obligations. A Christian has to be informed to stand up for what the Bible says. Does Biola have a plan to connect the Bible to arguments and evidence when it comes to moral issues?