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Believe in God? Well, that makes you a “fascist b****rd,” according to LA college professor

Posted by Mats on 18/02/2009

***NOTE: ADF Senior Counsel David French is scheduled to appear on the O’Reilly Factor TONIGHT at 8 PM Eastern to discuss this case***

From “StopTheACLU”

The “tolerance” of the American university, in full bloom.

ADF: Calif. professor to student: “Ask God what your grade is”

Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund Center for Academic Freedom filed a lawsuit against officials of the Los Angeles Community College District Wednesday. The lawsuit comes after a professor censored and threatened to expel a student following a speech about marriage and his Christian faith during an open-ended assignment in a public speaking class.

“Christian students shouldn’t be penalized or discriminated against for speaking about their beliefs,” said ADF Senior Counsel David French. “Public institutions of higher learning cannot selectively censor Christian speech. This student was speaking well within the confines of his professor’s assignment when he was censored and ultimately threatened with expulsion.”

On Nov. 24, 2008, Los Angeles City College speech professor John Matteson interrupted and ended Jonathan Lopez’s presentation mid-speech, calling him a “fascist bastard” in front of the class for speaking about his faith, which included reading the dictionary definition of marriage and reciting two Bible verses. Instead of allowing Lopez to finish, Matteson told the other students they could leave if they were offended. When no one left, Matteson dismissed the class. Refusing to grade the assigned speech, Matteson wrote on Lopez’s evaluation, “Ask God what your grade is.”

One week later, after seeing Lopez talking to the college’s dean of academic affairs, Matteson told Lopez that he would make sure he’d be expelled from school. Matteson’s treatment of Lopez during his speech follows an earlier incident in which Matteson told his entire class after the November election, “If you voted yes on Proposition 8, you are a fascist bastard.”

“Professor Matteson clearly violated Mr. Lopez’s free speech rights by engaging in viewpoint discrimination and retaliation because he disagreed with the student’s religious beliefs,” said French. “When students are given open-ended assignments in a public speaking class, the First Amendment protects their ability to express their views. Moreover, the district has a speech code that has created a culture of censorship on campus. America’s public universities and colleges are supposed to be a ‘marketplace of ideas,’ not a hotbed of intolerance.”

Handy, dandy fact sheet here.

Professor’s love note here.

David French’s NRO commentary: Prop 8 Fever Strikes the Campus

That was not the end of the matter. When Lopez complained of his treatment to the dean, the professor threatened Lopez with expulsion. When Lopez sent a more formal demand letter (through counsel), the school responded with an assurance that a confidential disciplinary process would be initiated but then went out of its way to note that other students complained that Lopez was “preaching hate” and “spout[ing] hateful propaganda.”

These hate-speech comments were particularly ominous, considering that the Los Angeles Community College District has a rather oppressive speech code, which permits the school to punish “offensive” speech or speech that has an undefined “negative impact” on a student’s academic performance (one section of the school’s policies even permits punishment for mere “generalized sexist statements”).

So now Lopez is challenging the speech code and the actions taken against him, hopeful that all students on campus will enjoy greater freedom as a result of his case and that the debate over marriage will be just that, a debate—and not degenerate once again into a campaign of threats and censorship.

The incomparable Dr. Mike Adams also weighs in: Ask God What Your Grade Is

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One Response to “Believe in God? Well, that makes you a “fascist b****rd,” according to LA college professor”

  1. Unless Christians defend their freedom and rights, these will be taken away fast. I am very happy to hear of the lawsuit.

    Johnson C. Philip, PhD (Physics)
    India

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