Gov. Jerry Brown signs SB 1146 initiating State control over religion
Thomasson: “There must be a First Amendment lawsuit to strike down SB 1146 and restore respect for our precious constitutional rights.”
OCTOBER 1, 2016 | Sacramento, California — Among the final round of bills signed September 30 by California Governor Jerry Brown is SB 1146, which initiates State control over religion by placing the State in a new role of judging religious matters on religious property.
SaveCalifornia.com, a veteran pro-child, pro-family organization that promotes moral virtues for the common good, is calling for a First Amendment lawsuit against SB 1146 to protect the free exercise of religion of faith-based college, universities, seminaries, and bible schools.
“SB 1146 is a blatant violation of ‘separation of church and state,'” said Randy Thomasson, president of SaveCalifornia.com, which fought against SB 1146 to the end, using paid ads reaching hundreds of thousands of concerned Californians. “For the first time in California, religious matters on religious property will be judged by the government. If you don’t want a State government religion, this is a frightening new development. When government regulates religion, government has become the new ‘god.'”
“Despite an outpouring of opposition from concerned citizens who know that free exercise of religion is in the U.S. and California constitutions, Jerry Brown ignored the supreme laws he’s repeatedly sworn to uphold,” Thomasson said. “For current religious freedom to be protected, there must be a First Amendment lawsuit to strike down SB 1146 and restore respect for our precious constitutional rights.”
“It’s wrong for the State of California to steal away territory from sacred ground, effectively making the State the new ‘moral’ authority over religion,” Thomasson said. “This is why a half-dozen religious colleges urged a veto of SB 1146 in the final days before Brown took action. They believe in the U.S. and California constitutions and religious diversity, even if Jerry Brown and the Democrats who passed SB 1146 don’t.”
See SaveCalifornia.com’s analysis of SB 1146, as signed by Governor Brown:
SB 1146, as amended August 19, still harms religious freedom.
The August 19 amendments to SB 1146 still contain most of the problematic sections of the bill, which continue to harm religious freedom by giving the State unprecedented, unconstitutional, and subjective control over religious matters.
As such, SB 1146 violates “separation of church and state” and the religious freedom guarantees of
both the U.S. and California constitutions.
A new 8/19/16 amendment made the bill worse. Even though current state law says a religious organization is in control of its postsecondary educational institution, SB 1146 now puts the State in control — by requiring a religious college that is exempt under Education Code § 66271 to justify “its basis for having the exemption.”
Inserted is Section 2(a)(2), reading: “Beginning with the 2017-18 school year, each postsecondary educational institution in this state not described in subdivision (a) that has an exemption pursuant to Section 66271 shall submit to the Student Aid Commission its basis for having the exemption.”
Yet Education Code § 66271 reads: “This chapter shall not apply to an educational institution that is controlled by a religious organization if the application would not be consistent with the religious tenets of that organization.”
Why must a church now justify its own religious doctrines to the State? Is the religious organization in control of its educational institution, as Section 66271 recognizes – or is the State in control of it?
Why is the State even examining the “religious tenets” of religious colleges?
The previous problems in SB 1146 remain and were not removed by the latest amendments.