Jones Supports Religious Freedom for California Private Colleges and Universities

August 09, 2016

Columbia International University President Dr. Bill Jones was among the signatories of a statement in defense of the religious freedom of private colleges and universities in California. The statement, spearheaded by the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, was in response to legislation in the California Senate (SB 1146) that many believed would infringe on the liberties of Christian schools and other religious schools.  

But a day after the document was released, the bill's sponsor announced he removed the most problematic provisions in the measure.  

Christianity Today magazine reported that the bill’s primary goal initially was to prevent colleges that receive state funds from enforcing codes of student conduct that reflect the college’s religious beliefs about sexual identity and the confining of marriage to male-female relationships. The bill’s chief sponsor, State Senator Ricardo Lara, said his goal was to protect LGBT students at religious colleges.

But Lara amended the bill after an outpouring of opposition from religious liberty advocates, including the statement signed by Jones and nearly 150 religious leaders, many of them evangelical Christians.  

World magazine reports the bill now requires schools to disclose if they have a religious exemption from California's non-discrimination law, and to report to the state whenever students are expelled for violating the schools' code of conduct.