An Augusta State University counseling student has filed a lawsuit against her school claiming it violated her First Amendment rights when it told her to change her traditionalist Christian views on homosexuality or get out.
The Alliance Defense Fund filed suit Wednesday on behalf of Jennifer Keeton, 24, seeking to stop the school from expelling her from her master’s degree program.
“They made a cascading series of presumptions about the kind of a counselor she would be and have consequently … tried to force her to change her beliefs,” David French, the ADF attorney representing Keeton in the case, told The Daily Caller. “It’s symbolic of an educational system that has lost its way.”
The suit alleges the university retaliated against Keeton for stating her belief that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice and not a “state of being,” and that gender is not a social construct subject to individual change. According to the suit, the school wants her to undergo a “thought reform” program intended to change her religious beliefs. She faces expulsion unless she complies, and the suit seeks to block the university from throwing her out for noncompliance.
Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2010/07/26/university-to-student-accept-homosexuality-or-leave/#ixzz0uoUPJz2a
Let's just assume, for the sake of argument, that the facts as stated above are true. Is this acceptable at all?
OK, I know homosexuality can be a hotbutton issue because some view it with links to morality and character, but it's not just Christians who hold such beliefs. Were this student Muslim, do you think any US university would be telling her to change her beliefs?
To ask the question is to answer it.
But let's move on from homosexuality. Should a public university require students to hold certain political or religious beliefs?
Again, to ask the question is to answer it.
Update, 7/28/10: A court has upheld a similar but different expulsion, but there's a little more to that story:
A federal judge has ruled in favor of a public university that removed a Christian student from its graduate program in school counseling over her belief that homosexuality is morally wrong. Monday's ruling, according to Julea Ward's attorneys, could result in Christian students across the country being expelled from public university for similar views.Refused to counsel homosexual clients? That's a little different from being removed because she doesn't approve of homosexuality. Remember when President Reagan joked, after being shot, that he hoped all the doctors were Republicans? It would have been more than a little unethical for the Democrat doctors to refuse to operate.
“It’s a very dangerous precedent,” Jeremy Tedesco, legal counsel for the conservative Alliance Defense Fund, told FOX News Radio. “The ruling doesn’t say that explicitly, but that’s what is going to happen.”
U.S. District Judge George Caram Steeh dismissed Ward’s lawsuit against Eastern Michigan University. She was removed from the school’s counseling program last year because she refused to counsel homosexual clients.
I still don't like the "reeducation" requirement the school is insisting on, though.