Secular Progressives to Christians: change your religious beliefs or pay the price.
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.
“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.
The university contended she violated school policy and the American Counseling Association code of ethics. “Christian students shouldn’t be expelled for holding to and abiding by their beliefs,” said ADF senior counsel David French. “To reach its decision, the court had to do something that’s never been done in federal court: uphold an extremely broad and vague university speech code.”
Eastern Michigan University hailed the decision.
“We are pleased that the court has upheld our position in this matter,” EMU spokesman Walter Kraft said in a written statement. “Julea Ward was not discriminated against because of her religion. To the contrary, Eastern Michigan is deeply committed to the education of our students and welcomes individuals from diverse backgrounds into our community.”
In his 48-page opinion, Judge Steeh said the university had a rational basis for adopting the ACA Code of Ethics.
“Furthermore, the university had a rational basis for requiring students to counsel clients without imposing their personal values,” he wrote in a portion of his ruling posted by The Detroit News. “In the case of Ms. Ward, the university determined that she would never change her behavior and would consistently refuse to counsel clients on matters with which she was personally opposed due to her religious beliefs – including homosexual relationships.”
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