A Los Angeles Community College professor interrupts and cuts short a student’s speech about marriage and his Christian faith during an open-ended assignment in a public speaking class, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday.
The “tolerance” so fervently preached in most college institutions today apparently was lost on a Los Angeles Community College professor who abandoned his cool in the public speaking class he teaches.
The Los Angeles Times reports:
Student Jonathan Lopez says his professor called him a “fascist bastard” and refused to let him finish his speech against same-sex marriage during a public speaking class last November, weeks after California voters approved the ban on such unions.
When Lopez tried to find out his mark for the speech, the professor, John Matteson, allegedly told him to “ask God what your grade is,” the suit says.
Lopez also said the teacher threatened to have him expelled when he complained to higher-ups.
It seems the “dictionary definition” of marriage is also deemed offensive…as well as Bible verses. The Alliance Defense Fund Center for Academic Freedom is defending Lopez in the lawsuit and states in its press release:
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.”
While tolerance of Lopez’ Christian viewpoint was non-existent, so was his freedom of speech…in a public speaking class…again, once thought of as a cornerstone in college academia.
“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.
“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.”
This isn’t the first time public school and college teachers have attempted to shut down student expression or slur Christianity, and it certainly will not be the last. However, Christian students are going into classes with eyes and mouths wide open, now defended by groups such as the ADF and more.
Tolerance and free speech applies to God’s word as well.
Townhall.com: Ask God What Your Grade Is
TheRawStory: Christian student kept no hard copy of controversial speech