Wednesday, July 28, 2010

USA: Three more precedent-setting cases of discrimination

It appears we are entering days when Western Christians, like their brothers and sisters in the non-West, will increasingly find their education and employment options greatly limited purely on account of their faith. Only faith that conforms to prescribed government standards will be considered legitimate.

CASE I

On 9 July, the University of Illinois sacked Professor Kenneth Howell -- a respected teacher and Christian who holds 2 masters degrees and 2 Ph.D.s -- after he was accused of "hate speech". Professor Howell, who had been teaching at the University for nine years, offended a student from his class, "Introduction to Catholicism and Modern Catholic Thought".

In an e-mail to students during the spring semester, Professor Howell explained that according to Catholic doctrine, "A homosexual orientation is not morally wrong just as no moral guilt can be assigned to any inclination that a person has. However, based on natural moral law, the Church believes that homosexual acts are contrary to human nature and therefore morally wrong."
A student complained and the professor was sacked.

See:
Ill. prof. fired for teaching about Catholic beliefs in class on Catholicism
ADF urges restoration of Kenneth Howell’s First Amendment rights, teaching position
Alliance Defence Fund, Monday 12 July 2010

Kenneth Howell Firing Reviewed By Univerity of Illinois Faculty: Lecturer Fired for Saying Homosexual Acts are 'Morally Wrong'.
Huffington Post 15 July 2010

ADF issues deadline to reinstate Dr. Kenneth Howell
Examiner, 21 July 2010

US University bars prof for teaching RC beliefs
Christian Institute, 22 July 2010

CASE II

Meanwhile, Jennifer Keeton (24), a graduate student pursuing a master's degree in school counseling at Augusta State University, was being officially warned that she will be dismissed from the program unless she alters her "central religious beliefs on human nature and conduct".

Miss Keeton, a Christian, has been ordered into a "remediation" program. She must undergo "diversity training" and "sensitization". Part of what is required of her is that she attends a Gay Pride parade and write a report on it (presumably it has to be a favourable report).

See:
Augusta State Univ. to counseling student: change your beliefs or get out
ADF attorneys file suit after university officials require counseling student to abandon her beliefs to get a degree
Alliance Defence League, 22 July 2010

Jennifer Keeton in her own words. 22 July 2010

Can a Christian Who Believes Homosexuality Is Wrong Become a Qualified Counselor?
Queerty, 24 July 2010

ASU student says gays have 'identity confusion'
By Stephanie Toone, Staff Writer Augusta Chronicle, 24 Aug 2010

Lawsuit Claims College Ordered Student to Alter Religious Views on Homosexuality, Or Be Dismissed
By Joshua Rhett Miller, FoxNews, 27 July 2010

Keeton is not the first Christian student to be threatened with expulsion purely on the basis of her religious beliefs concerning homosexuality.

UPDATE:
Jennifer Keeton, Anti-Gay Counseling Student Who Refused Remedial Training, Lawsuit Dismissed
Huffington Post: Gay Voices, 27 June 2012


CASE III

On Monday 26 July 2010, the United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division upheld the expulsion of Christian student Julea Ward, who had been expelled from Eastern Michigan University's counselling program in March 2009 after she respectfully denied instruction to counsel a homosexual man on his homosexual relationship because she could not affirm his homosexual activity.

See:
Court Upholds Expulsion of Counseling Student Who Opposes Homosexuality
By Todd Starnes, FoxNews, 28 July 2010

EMU officials: Change your beliefs or leave the Counseling Program
YouTube interview 3 Aug 2009

EMU sued for booting student over views on gays
By Justin Miller, the Michigan Messenger, 7 April 2009

ADF to appeal ruling that allows Eastern Michigan U. to expel Christian students for holding to beliefs
University banished graduate counseling student for not affirming homosexual behavior
27 July 2010 (article contains a link to the court's decision.)

The court ruled against the plaintiff (Ward) on the grounds that the Amercian Counseling Association (ACA) Code of Ethics requires counselors respect diversity and refrain from discrimination. Referrals cannot be made on the basis of a counsellor's values, although there is an exemption for counsellors not wishing to assist clients seeking euthanasia.

According to the ruling, the "plaintiff had violated the ACA Code of Ethics by imposing her own values on a client, which is 'inconsistent with the counseling goal of nondiscrimination on the basis of sexual orientation'." Therefore: "Dismissal from a training program is appropriate 'when those supervisees are unable to provide competent professional services'." (pages 6-8 of court decision)

The Alliance Defence Fund is appealing the ruling.