It has been a busy summer for academics seeking to silence dissent on campus. Ken Howell, an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois, was accused of “hate speech” for teaching what the Catholic Church believes about homosexuality; he was fired but was eventually invited back for the fall.
Julea Ward, a Christian student at Eastern Michigan University, was told that she could only continue graduate studies in school counseling if she changed her beliefs on homosexuality and agreed to attend “diversity sensitivity training.”
Jen Keeton, a Christian student, was told by officials at Augusta State University that she could continue her graduate work in student counseling only if she changed her thoughts on homosexuality and agreed to enroll in a “sensitivity” program.
The case of Howell was complicated because his salary was paid for by the Diocese of Peoria, but the fact is that it was his teachings on homosexuality that triggered a review of this long-standing arrangement. Eventually the University of Illinois came to its senses and offered him his job back.
The case of Ward was complicated by her refusal to counsel homosexuals. But the fact is that had she agreed to counsel gays in a manner consistent with her beliefs, she would have been victimized for doing so anyway.
The case of Keeton isn’t complicated by anything—she is simply being victimized for her thoughts.
Bad as these attempts to censor religious freedom are, even worse are the proposed remedies. “Diversity sensitivity” and “remediation programs” smack of thought control. Totalitarian in nature, they have no legitimate role to play in American society, much less on college campuses.
Keeton was told that as a part of her “remediation,” she should go to a “gay pride parade.” Unlike the Irish, Italian, German, Puerto Rican, Polish, West Indian, Black and Jewish parades, the gays have a hard time keeping their pants on. We said kudos to the Alliance Defense Fund for accepting all three cases.