Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

San Jose State University kicks Ratio Christi club off its campus

Story from the Ratio Christi blog.

Here’s the story:

On Wednesday, October 8, 2014, the Ratio Christi chapter at San Jose State University (SJSU) received a letter from the university stating that the club had been “de-recognized.” In the letter, school officials explained their actions to be in compliance with a new California State University Executive Order regarding how an organization selects its officers.

Ratio Christi, like many other campus Christian organizations, requires that chapter officers adhere to the Christian faith and biblical beliefs. This means that non-Christians, or Christians who do not feel it is necessary to follow New Testament principles as a guide for their daily lives, are not eligible for officer positions in the group. The State of California now deems this as “discriminatory,” and punishable by de-recognition.

“Colleges and universities should be encouraging student leadership, not stifling it,” said Ratio Christi President Rick Schenker. “All college students, including religious students, should have the right to form groups around shared beliefs and choose leaders who reflect those beliefs without being shut down and kicked off campus. Imagine the College Democrats being required to have a Republican student leader, or the local chapter of PETA being required to have a meat-eating leader. The results of the Cal State policy are simply ridiculous.”

Disturbingly, this has already happened to all twenty-three of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s chapters on California campuses in September and at Vanderbilt University in 2012.

In their letter to the SJSU Ratio Christi chapter, school officials explained the consequences of being “de-recognized,” a list that ranged from not being eligible for student funding and financial services to not being allowed to participate in student organization fairs, ceremonies, or training.

This is the Ratio Christi chapter that is run by Jane Pantig, who was mentioned here in a previous blog post.

The troubling thing about these rules is that it is also a violation of fundamental human rights, as this USA Today editorial explains:

In the massive California State University system, as at some other universities, new anti-discrimination rules for student groups mean it can no longer be required that the president of the Christian student fellowship is Christian, or that the head of the Muslim association is Muslim, or that the officers of any group buy into the interests and commitments of that group.

Student clubs that refuse to accept the new rules will find themselves on the sidelineswhen it comes to meeting space, recruitment opportunities and other valuable perks that go with being an officially recognized group.

Such is the fate that has befallen InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, a national campus ministry that finds itself “derecognized” in the 450,000-student Cal State system for insisting that student leaders of its campus chapters affirm the basic tenets of evangelical belief.

[…]InterVarsity estimates the cost of operations could rise by many thousands of dollars annually on some of the Cal State campuses. This is part of the reason why InterVarsity is continuing to pray and plead for relief from the new policy.

University officials and state lawmakers should reconsider, and not merely for the sake of InterVarsity. In addition to the freedom from discrimination, there are other relevant freedoms to factor: freedom of religion, freedom of association and our freedom to exercise common sense.

Loss of club status typically means 1) having to pay to reserve rooms, which is thousands of dollars per year, 2) losing access to student fairs, which means less recruitment, and 3) no official standing when speaking to faculty, students or administrators of the university.

I guess I would advise Christians who are not involved in politics to get more informed and involved. California is a Democrat-run state from top to bottom. It sounds nice to pious ears to say that we should be focused on the gospel and praise hymns, but if you ignore politics, politics will come after you. And that’s why every Christian should have a broad, comprehensive worldview that takes into account the Bible and integrates it with areas outside the Bible, like economics. The alternative is to feel pious and yet vote for a political party that makes the practice of Christianity illegal, and believe me, I know many people who call themselves Christians who do exactly that. And they are proud of it. I once had a hygienist working on my teeth who claimed to be a Christian and yet she was constantly bashing Republicans. She had the discipline to learn how to clean my teeth, but not to develop a comprehensive Christian worldview.

The good news I have about this story is that these de-recognition attacks can be defeated, if you get a lawyer from a good organization like the Alliance Defending Freedom.

Look at this story from September 2014:

At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill a Christian fraternity, Alpha Iota Omega (AIO), was stripped of its recognition after UNC administrator Jonathan Curtis declared that the fraternity was required to add an unconstitutional “nondiscrimination” clause to its student group constitution. AIO objected to the “nondiscrimination” clause because it would have forbidden the group from considering religion when determining “membership and participation” in the group. FIRE wrote to the university on AIO’s behalf outlining the group’s rights to freedom of association and religious liberty but the university was unmoved. FIRE teamed up with the Alliance Defense Fund and filed suit, and eventually AIO was granted the right not to enact the nondiscrimination clause.

But again, we have to have Christians getting serious about getting married and raising children who will go on to get the law degrees we need to fight these battles. I think a lot of Christians think that marriage is more like ziplining, surfing or skydiving than work, though. They want it to be free and easy and emotion-driven. But there’s a cost to this approach. We don’t have the influence in society to defend ourselves when the secular leftists come after us. We are paying them to do this to us, through taxes.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , ,

California orders churches to fund abortions, or face sanctions

This is from The Federalist.

Excerpt:

California’s Department of Managed Health Care has ordered all insurance plans in the state to immediately begin covering elective abortion. Not Plan B. Not contraceptives. Elective surgical dismemberment abortion.

At the insistence of the American Civil Liberties Union, the DMHC concluded that a 40-year-old state law requiring health plans to cover “basic health services” had been misinterpreted all these decades. Every plan in the state was immediately ordered, effective August 22, to cover elective abortion. California had not even applied this test to its own state employee health plans (which covered only “medically necessary” abortions). But this novel reading was nevertheless quietly imposed on every plan in the state by fiat.

The news has slowly leaked out as insurers grappling with this change have begun quietly informing employers of this sudden change in the terms of their policy. This is how Kaiser Permanente broke the news to one California church that its insurance policy for its pastors and staff would now include elective abortion coverage:

I want to formally share with you that on August 22, 2014, the Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) notified Kaiser Permanente and other affected health plans in writing regarding group contracts that exclude ‘voluntary termination of pregnancy.’

This letter made clear that the DMHC considered health care services related to the termination of pregnancies – whether or not a voluntary termination – a medically necessary basic health care service for which all health care services plans must provide coverage under the Knox-Keene Health Care Service Plan Act.  You may recall that at the request of some employer groups with religious affiliations, Kaiser Permanente submitted a regulatory filing in May 2012 properly notifying the DMHC of a benefit plan option that excluded coverage of voluntary terminations of pregnancies. The DMHC did not object to this filing, permitting Kaiser Permanente to offer such a coverage contract to large group purchasers that requested it. The DMHC acknowledged that it previously permitted these contract exclusions, but now is requiring health care service plans to provide coverage of all terminations of pregnancies, effective immediately.  To that end, the DMHC requires Kaiser Permanente and similar health care service plans to initiate steps to modify their plan contracts accordingly.

Effective August 22, Kaiser Permanente will comply with this regulatory mandate.

This is the kind of story that really justifies my suspicions about secular people’s ability to be “moral”. It seems to me that even if a person did not believe in God, that they would be respectful of those who do. But when you give up God, it does make a difference to whether you think that other people have these sorts of natural rights. How could you possibly ground natural rights in a materialist universe? And this does have an impact on how they act.

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California State University system de-recognizes IVCF from 23 campuses

Princess Mandy posted this story from Christianity Today, and I am blogging it.

Excerpt: (links removed)

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF) has been, in modern campus terminology, “derecognized” by California State University schools. Basically, they will no longer be a recognized campus organization on any of the 23 schools in that system. IVCF has been derecognized because they require their leaders to have Christian beliefs.

It’s not just InterVarsity that will be impacted. Following the same logic, any group that insists on requiring its leaders to follow an agreed upon set of guiding beliefs is no longer kosher (irony intended) at California’s state universities. This will impact many other faith-based organizations with actual, well, faith-based beliefs. Presumably, even People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals would have to allow Oscar Meyer to lead their campus chapters.

[…]Now, it’s not persecution. Christians are not banned. People can share their faith. But, now, what we once called “equal access” has taken another hit—people of faith do not have equal access to the university community, like the environmentalist club, the LGBT organization, or the chess club.

The university system has decided that speech with beliefs that undergird it—and shape how it is organized—has to be derecognized.

I asked Greg Jao, who is National Field Director & Campus Access Coordinator, what this actually meant. He explained,

Loss of recognition means we lose 3 things: free access to rooms (this will cost our chapters $13k-30k/year to reserve room). We also lose access to student activities programs, including the new student fairs where we meet most students. We also lose standing when we engage faculty, students and administrators.

And while they still have freedom to request a meeting spot in some buildings, they no longer have the status when other officially recognized groups request the same spot—even though they are, well, fee-paying students in a facility owned by the people of California.

Jao indicated the work is not done, explaining,

We still intend to minister on campus but loss of recognition is a significant impediment.

The bigger, and ongoing, issue is the continual sanitization of unacceptable religious voices from universities. It’s ironic—those who champion nondiscrimination, in the name of nondiscrimination, are creating rules that push out those who “discriminate” based on biblical belief statements.

A few years ago, I asked in the pages of USAToday, are evangelicals no longer welcome in the public arena? If that arena is a California state university, and those evangelicals want an official school organization, that answer is obvious.

This has already happened in other places, perhaps most notably at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. But, Vanderbilt is a private university. Now, state schools have decided that, due to their odd policies restricting belief based organization from requiring belief, students who have evangelical beliefs—and think the leaders of their belief-based campus organization should also have beliefs—are no longer welcome as a student organization.

Christian taxpayers in California are paying into this school system, thanks to the compulsory collection of taxes. So now Christian families will have less money to send their own kids to schools that actually allow freedom of association and equal access to Christians. We have to pay twice – once into a system that treats us as second-class citizens, and once into a private system that recognizes our fundamental rights. This is why we should be voting to cut off the money supply to the non-essential responsibilities of government. We need to keep our money to work around the discrimination of the secularists.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , ,

In California, 95% of professor’s donations goes to Democrats

From The College Fix.

Excerpt:

With midterm elections looming, an analysis of professors’ recent campaign contributions to California lawmakers found that about 95 percent of their donations went to Democratic politicians.

Dozens of scholars have donated nearly $200,000 to a variety of Democratic representatives, while Republican politicians only netted about $9,000 from scholars, Federal Election Commission records show.

In effect, contributions by professors to Democrat lawmakers outweigh donations to Republican ones by 22 to 1, according to the The College Fix analysis.

The analysis used figures listed on the Federal Election Commission website from January 2013 through 2014 spring filings. Both Political Action Committee and individual campaign contributions were included in the data. Only donors with occupations listed as “professor” were included in the tally.

The survey looked at all 53 U.S. congressional representatives in California as well as its two U.S. Senators, 40 of whom are Democrat and 15 are Republican.

The California lawmaker who appears a favorite among professors is House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) Pelosi’s Victory Fund PAC garnered the largest dollar amount in donations from professors by far at $50,500.

When people go to university, so often they think, I’ll just study whatever I want. But I think given the bias of most professors, a better plan is to focus on studying something in the STEM fields, especially math, engineering and computer science, where you wouldn’t be as exposed to the bias of these professors. Even if the professors are biased, there is not much they can do to inject their bias into a STEM course. It’s something to think about – and STEM degrees pay better, too.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , ,

Toyota moves thousands of jobs from socialist California to capitalist Texas

California is a liberal hell of regulations and high taxes. So, a story like this one from the ultra-leftist Los Angeles Times should come as no surprise. (H/T ECM)

Excerpt:

Toyota Motor Corp. plans to move large numbers of jobs from its sales and marketing headquarters in Torrance to suburban Dallas, according to a person familiar with the automaker’s plans.

The move, creating a new North American headquarters, would put management of Toyota’s U.S. business close to where it builds most cars for this market.

North American Chief Executive Jim Lentz is expected to brief employees Monday, said the person, who was not authorized to speak publicly. Toyota declined to detail its plans. About 5,300 people work at Toyota’s Torrance complex. It is unclear how many workers will be asked to move to Texas. The move is expected to take several years.

[T]oday, about 75% of the Toyota branded vehicles sold in the U.S. are built in America — many of them at plants in Texas, Mississippi and Kentucky.

Why is this happening? Here’s why:

Frank Scotto, Torrance’s mayor, said he had no warning of Toyota’s decision. He said he did know that the automaker planned a corporate announcement for Monday.

“When any major corporation is courted by another state, it’s very difficult to combat that,” Scotto said. “We don’t have the tools we need to keep major corporations here.”

The mayor said businesses bear higher costs in California for workers’ compensation and liability insurance, among other expenses.

“A company can easily see where it would benefit by relocating someplace else,” Scotto said.

Think that this is an exception? Think again:

Occidental Petroleum Corp. said in February that it was relocating from Los Angeles to Houston, making it one of around 60 companies that have moved to Texas since July 2012, according to Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Perry last month visited California to recruit companies. The group Americans for Economic Freedom also recently launched a $300,000 advertising campaign in which Perry contends 50 California companies have plans to expand or relocate in Texas because it offers a better business climate.

Like these other companies, Toyota could also save money in an environment of lower business taxes, real estate prices and cost of living.

[…]Toyota isn’t the first automaker to leave Southern California. In late 2005, Nissan announced it was moving its North American headquarters from Gardena to Franklin, Tenn., just outside of Nashville. About 550 employees left for Tennessee; an additional 750 left jobs at Nissan to stay in Southern California.

“The costs of doing business in Southern California are much higher than the costs of doing business in Tennessee,” Nissan Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn said at the time. He cited cheaper real estate and lower business taxes as key reasons for the move.

I know a lot of people like to write books about how bad companies like Wal-Mart and Exxon Mobil are. Young people have been trained to believe that we should raise corporate taxes, raise the minimum wage and burden businesses with other costs, like health coverage for condoms. That’s what young people learn in school from government employees. But in the real world, companies respond to incentives.

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