In November, 2008, shortly after California voters had voted to define marriage as between one man and one woman, Los Angeles City College student Jonathan Lopez addressed the topic in his public speaking class. He gave reasons for his support of traditional marriage as only properly between one man and one woman.
Los Angeles City College
“Reportedly, Lopez’s Professor abruptly stopped him, calling him a ‘fascist bastard’ in front of the class and then prohibited him from finishing his speech,” writes Randy Sly for the website Catholic Online.
“Later, the student approached the professor, John Matteson, to inquire as to his grade. The faculty member then allegedly told him to “ask God what your grade is.” Lopez also reported that Matteson threatened to have him expelled when he complained about the
Again, the Christian student had to go to court. Lopez describes himself as a committed Christian who must speak out openly on issues as they relate to his deeply held faith.
“He was expressing his faith during an open-ended assignment, but when the professor disagreed with some minor things he mentioned, the professor shut him down,” attorney David J. Hacker told the Los Angeles Times.
Hacker cited a 2006 case where Missouri State University tried to discipline a Christian social-work student who refused to support child adoptions by same-sex couples.
In the wake of the Martinez decision, the Ohio state legislature actually passed a law against such policies at its state schools – discrimination based on religious beliefs.
However, the Supreme Court’s seeming endorsement inspired Vanderbilt University “to jump in with both feet,” writes Shibley. “Last fall, it announced that a new ‘all comers’ policy would soon be enforced, and after months of avoiding questions from nearly everyone under the sun, including the National Association of Evangelicals, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and 23 members of Congress, Vanderbilt finally held a ‘town hall’ discussion on its decision on January 31.
“While the discussion was scheduled to last 90 minutes, religious students showed up with so many concerns that it ran for three hours and was so packed that many were turned away at the doors.
“A video of the meeting leads the viewer to a startling revelation: Vanderbilt administrators are adopting the policy for the purpose of undermining certain religious beliefs, and, as usual, evangelical and Catholic Christians are the main targets.”
“Don’t take my word for it,” writes Shibley. “Take the word of Richard C. McCarty, Vanderbilt’s vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost. Excerpts from this exchange at the meeting should leave any traditional religious believer in shock:
“STUDENT PALMER WILLIAMS: I am a little confused by the fact that under your policy, I can gather with a group of my friends, or a group of like-minded people, I can state my beliefs, but as soon as I go as far as writing down what we believe in, and then try to live by those beliefs as a community on campus, then I’m not allowed to do that.
“VICE CHANCELLOR MCCARTY: What I’m going to challenge you to do, to be open to a member that doesn’t share your faith beliefs who could be a wonderful member of CLS, maybe even a leader. But we’re not saying you have to vote for that person. We’re simply saying that person, who maybe does not profess allegiance to Jesus Christ as his or her Lord and Savior, should be allowed to run for office in CLS. Maybe it’s not chair or president, maybe it’s a person who is amazing at social outreach. It would still be consistent with your goals of serving the underserved with legal advice and legal services, but maybe isn’t Christian but they endorse what you’re trying to do. Give that person a chance. . . . Now let me give you another example, and this would affect all of you. I’m Catholic. What if my faith beliefs guided all of the decisions I make from day to day?”
At this point, the crowd applauded the idea that they should live according to their faith. Annoyed, McCarty corrected them for such
Vanderbilt University's Richard C. McCarty, right
“No they shouldn’t! No they shouldn’t!” he responded. “No they shouldn’t! No they shouldn’t!”
The video shows vocal disagreement from crowd.