California Bill Banning Biblical Views on Sexual Identity Forces Christian Group to Cancel Young Adult Conference
Summit Ministries’ president calls AB2943 “the most blatant chilling of free speech in America in my lifetime” while announcing the removal of Biola University worldview training from the schedule. Read Full Story
“We are grieved that it has come to this, but we simply cannot put our students, staff, and faculty at risk.” Dr Jeff Myers said.
FAQ’s and Key Facts – Summit’s Cancellation of CA Conferences
- What events have been cancelled?
- The June 10-23 and June 24-July 7 sessions at Biola University near Los Angeles
- How should I contact Summit?
- Please call us to discuss alternative solutions at 1-866-SUMMIT3 (719-786-6483)
- What caused the cancellation?
- AB2943, a bill recently passed by the California Assembly and likely to be passed by the Senate then signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, would prohibit “efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.”
- If AB2943 becomes law, organizations that charge admission to events or sell resources that uphold traditional marriage and the Bible’s teaching on homosexuality could be fined and sued
- Because our speaker lineup includes defenders of man/woman marriage, people who have left a homosexual lifestyle and aspects of masculinity and femininity found in Scripture, not just our organization but individual members of our staff could be sued and fined if went ahead with the California conference
- Our president, Jeff Myers, will not water down Scripture to satisfy the misguided restrictions of the state of California, and he does not want to subject the ministry, faculty, students, or our team members, many of whom are college students, to the risk of fines or lawsuits. So, he reluctantly cancelled the California events
- Here is Jeff Myers’ quote in announcing the cancellation of the California conferences: “We are not interested in bending truth to accommodate what the state of California says we can and cannot legally express about sexuality. This is the most blatant chilling of free speech in America in my lifetime.”
- As a California resident, I’m incensed about this bill. Is there anything I can do to prevent it from passing?
- You can contact your state senator and urge him or her not to support the bill; and also contact Gov. Jerry Brown and urge him not to sign it if the Senate passes it like the Assembly did. You can find more information about the negative effects of the bill and a link to write your senator and Gov. Brown at the California Family Council website: www.californiafamily.org
- Is there any way my teen can still learn the material that was going to be presented?
- We are offering to extend your registration to one of our other locations in TN, PA, or CO (see below) and we will cover the travel costs.
- I already signed up my student to attend one of the California student conferences. What happens now or what are my options at this time?
- Not to worry and we are glad that you are already registered! Summit Ministries will move ahead with our planned conferences this summer in Colorado, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania, and would like to offer to transfer current California registrations to one of these locations. We will arrange to cover the cost difference in airfare for those that need to change flights or schedule and pay for a new flight to make this change possible if you were planning to drive to our CA location.
- Please check our student conferences dates to find a session that is agreeable to your schedule (try TN or PA location first, then CO as CO has some full sessions already). To quickly view all locations and dates please visit our student conference page and call Summit to inquire about which CO sessions are already full (if your first choice is CO as a replacement).
- PA at LBC – Lancaster Bible College, Lancaster, PA (best airport is Philadelphia)
PA Session 1: July 1 – July 14
PA Session 2: July 15 – July 28
- TN at Union University in Jackson, TN. (best airport is Memphis or Nashville)
TN Session 1: June 17 – 30
TN Session 2: July 1 – July 14
- Are there any current incentives for attending one of the other locations?
- Yes, through May 7th, Summit is offering discounts of up to $300 off (may combine up to 3 discounts) and tuition assistance of up to $400 off. (as available and based upon need. Please apply through our tuition assistance application). When both are combined, this could add up to $700 off of the current regular student registration rate of only $1,645. Plus, we are offering 3 college credits for an additional $400 cost (that’s more than 50% off the normal college rate).
- Further, several of our college and university Champions are offering new students that graduate from Summit’s 12-day student conference, and then enroll with their school, amounts between $5K and $16K in scholarships over a 4-year period (conditions apply).
- What if I can’t attend a Summit student conference at one of the other locations? Can I get a refund on my deposit amount or amount paid to date?
- Yes, if there is not available space at one of our other locations, we want to help. (We want to make it work for you to attend Summit, especially since you already registered.)
- Our team is looking at alternate ways to your student to one of our other conferences this summer (see above for TN, PA, or CO locations). However, if an alternative date can’t be secured, a refund if necessary, may be provided. We will work with you on this process and can transfer you to the person processing refunds to cancel your registration.
- Will the conferences in Colorado, Pennsylvania and Tennessee be affected at all by this?
- All of our other summer 12-day student conferences will take place as scheduled. The cancellation only affects California because it is the only state Legislature considering such a bill. We retain the freedom to present our conference in 49 states and it is our intention to continue to do so.
- I’m a summit summer staff worker. What does this mean for me?
- Rest assured that this incident, though unfortunate, is unique. California is the only state that has taken such a bold action against fundamental rights to free speech and free exercise of religion. We still have the freedom to present our conferences in 49 other states and have every intention of continuing to do so.
- You are a critical part of the Summit team, and leadership simply did not feel comfortable exposing you and others we count on to carry forth our mission to fines and possible legal action.
- What does Summit’s Leadership Team have to say about this?
- Jeff and the Summit Leadership Team shared that, “we are grieved that it has come to this, but we simply cannot put our students, staff and faculty at risk. We are still free to present our conferences in 49 states – and we are grateful for that. Now is the time for Californians to rise-up and challenge their representatives to respect biblical values. To that end, we’re doing everything we can to mobilize our California alumni to exercise their power as citizens.
- We will continue to provide Summit resources to the local churches in CA, our faculty, our alumni, and concerned parents that reside in CA. We are praying for God’s will through this unfortunate experience. Of course, we continue to pray for our many friends and partner organizations in California, that they would see common-sense governance restored to their state.”
- Were Biola University and the Summit staff that were planning to work as leaders in CA this summer, notified already?
- Yes, Biola University has been contacted on multiple levels concerning Summit’s decision, as well as the Summit summer staffers. Several of the summer staffers will be filling in positions at our other locations in CO, TN, and PA
- If I still have any questions, is there someone else that I can speak with?
- If you still have any questions or would like to talk with someone in leadership at Summit Ministries, please call 1-866-SUMMIT3 (719-786-6483) and ask to speak with Dustin Jizmejian, Director of Programs, or Scott Northway, Vice President of Programs.