Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Peter J. Smith

7/17/2009 (5 years ago)

LifeSiteNews (www.lifesitenews.com)

District's policy had created the environment that emboldened his speech professor to call Lopez a "fascist ba***rd" for his Christian beliefs.

Lopez decided to give an informational speech to students on his own Christian beliefs, including Christian views on marriage. Lopez had read aloud the definition of marriage from the dictionary and had also quoted two verses from the Bible, when Matteson interjected in the middle of the speech and called Lopez a 'fascist ba***rd' before his classmates.

Lopez decided to give an informational speech to students on his own Christian beliefs, including Christian views on marriage. Lopez had read aloud the definition of marriage from the dictionary and had also quoted two verses from the Bible, when Matteson interjected in the middle of the speech and called Lopez a "fascist ba***rd" before his classmates.

Highlights

By Peter J. Smith

LifeSiteNews (www.lifesitenews.com)

7/17/2009 (5 years ago)

Published in U.S.


LOS ANGELES (LifeSiteNews.com) - A US District Judge has blocked the Los Angeles Community College District from enforcing its sexual harassment policy, which the judge ruled had promoted a hostile environment for the free speech rights of a Christian student.

U.S. District Judge George H. King agreed with Jonathan Lopez, a student attending Los Angeles City College (LACC), that the District's policy as written had created the environment that emboldened his speech professor to call Lopez a "fascist ba***rd" for explaining his Christian beliefs and how they related to his views against same-sex "marriage."

King stated in a ruling handed down last week that key sections of the policy were "unconstitutionally overbroad" and then issued the preliminary injunction on the policy, saying that the way the policy was constructed meant it "cannot be rendered constitutional by excising words or severing sections."

Represented by lawyers with the Alliance Defense Fund, Lopez had filed a lawsuit against the District and LACC back in February after he had been censored and threatened with expulsion by Professor John Matteson, who had assigned the members of his public-speaking class in mid-November to give an informational speech on any topic.

Lopez decided to give an informational speech to students on his own Christian beliefs, including Christian views on marriage. Lopez had read aloud the definition of marriage from the dictionary and had also quoted two verses from the Bible, when Matteson interjected in the middle of the speech and called Lopez a "fascist ba***rd" before his classmates.

Matteson refused to let Lopez finish, and instead invited other students to leave if they felt offended. But with no student taking up Matteson's invitation to depart, Matteson ordered the class dismissed. Instead of giving the assignment a grade, Matteson mocked Lopez on his written evaluation, taunting, "Ask God what your grade is."

A week after the incident, Matteson threatened to see to Lopez's expulsion after he saw Lopez speaking with the college's dean of academic affairs.

Faced with legal action, the District disciplined Matteson, and gave Lopez an A in the course; however the ADF argued that the District's sexual harassment policy had created an environment in which Matteson felt comfortable to intimidate Lopez from stating his beliefs.

Judge King agreed that the policy violated First Amendment protections of free speech by silencing viewpoints that others would find offensive, because it failed to contain "both a subjective and objective requirement." King pointed to the District's website indicated any conduct involving sexuality could fall under the heading of sexual harassment including "sexist statements." In this context, the site stated, "If [you are] unsure if certain comments or behavior are offensive do not do it, do not say it. ... Ask if something you do or say is being perceived as offensive or unwelcome."

"Thus, the Policy reaches constitutionally protected speech that is merely offensive to some listeners, such as discussions of religion, homosexual relations and marriage, sexual morality and freedom, polygamy, or even gender politics and policies," wrote King. "While it may be desirable to promote harmony and civility, these values cannot be enforced at the expense of protected speech under the First Amendment."

King paid particular attention to one passage from the policy that included under the sexual harassment code "conduct [of a sexual nature that] has the purpose or effect of having a negative impact upon the individual's work or academic performance, or of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work or educational environment."

"The Policy reaches speech unrelated to a class, such as discussions in any public and common areas at LACC. Even speech related to a class can be restricted by the Policy if the speech is not an intrinsic part of the course content," King wrote in his order.

King's order forbids the LA Community College District and the LA City College from carrying out or even promulgating the sexual harassment policy and to remove all references to the policy from its websites within fourteen days of the injunction.

---

LifeSiteNews.com is a non-profit Internet service dedicated to issues of culture, life, and family. It was launched in September 1997. LifeSiteNews Daily News reports and information pages are used by numerous organizations and publications, educators, professionals and political, religious and life and family organization leaders and grassroots people across North America and internationally.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More U.S.

Learning from the Wonderful Witness of 'Doubting' Thomas Watch

Image of Thomas the doubter became the Thomas the model believer, an example for each one of us. He is a great beacon of light for all of us as we cry out with him, MY LORD AND MY GOD!

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

What conclusion, dear brethren, do you come to? Surely it was not by chance that this chosen disciple, was missing in the first place? Or that on his return he heard, that hearing he doubted, that doubting he touched, and that touching he believed? It was by ... continue reading


Catholic Church in U.S. has weathered adversity before - and will emerge triumphant, historian says Watch

Image of As bishops warn of current threats to religious liberty in the United States, Catholics can take heart that such challenges have faced them before, and they have persevered, one Church historian says.

By Matt Hadro, CNA/EWTN News

As bishops warn of current threats to religious liberty in the United States, Catholics can take heart that such challenges have faced them before, and they have persevered, one Church historian says. Washington D.C. (CNA/EWTN News) - "It's okay to realize that ... continue reading


After same-sex unions legalized, polygamous Montana trio demands same Watch

Image of The 46-year-old Nathan Collier owns a refrigeration business in Billings. He married 40-year-old Victoria in 2000. His second wife, Christine, was wed in a religious wedding ceremony in 2007 without a marriage license in order to avoid bigamy charges.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It was bound to happen. After the Supreme Court ruled same-sex unions legal in all 50 states, other proponents of non-traditional arrangements are clamoring for equality under the law. Nathan Collier, along with his wives Victoria and Christine have applied at ... continue reading


350-pound dolphin accidentally lands on cruise ship severely injuring woman Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

To kick off the summer break and celebrate Father's day, a family went aboard a cruise that ended with a traumatizing accident. As the cruise started to sail back to the harbor, a group of dolphins started to swim alongside the boat. However, as the passengers started ... continue reading


Episcopalians overwhelmingly vote to let same-sex weddings in churches Watch

Image of Episcopalians voted overwhelmingly this week to allow religious weddings for same-sex couples.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Episcopalians voted overwhelmingly this week to allow religious weddings for same-sex couples. The Episcopal Church has long been on the forefront of equal rights for homosexuals, ever since electing it first openly gay bishop 10 years ago.  LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


TERROR LEAK: ISIS learns of FBI command centers across U.S. for Fourth of July Watch

Image of One such likely ISIS candidate, 23-year-old Alaa Saadeh, was believed to be part of a group interested in detonating a pressure cooker bomb at a New York landmark.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It appears that an important bit of counter-terrorism may have landed into the wrong hands. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, or FBI is installing command centers around the nation to prepare for possible terror attacks for the coming Fourth of July holiday ... continue reading


Remaining U.S. troops in Afghanistan 'feel forgotten' Watch

Image of Several US Troops felt abandoned and forgotten by the US government

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A total of 10,000 American troops remain in Afghanistan. These troops believe they have been forgotten by the Obama administration, as the US Government shifts its attention to ISIS. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - The US Troops, 10,000 men and women left ... continue reading


Risk for massive earthquake in California increases as scientists find dangerous helium coming from fault zone Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Researchers recently discovered helium leaking from a giant fault in the Earth's crust near Los Angeles, as well as discovering an increase in chance for California to have an 8.0 magnitude earthquake. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - They did not expect the ... continue reading


United States prepares for Fourth of July amidst threat of ISIS attacks Watch

Image of The U.S. Government prepares for possible terrorist attacks this coming Independence Day celebration in the U.S.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Three days before the United States' Independence Day, the FBI has already began setting up command centers in all of the 56 field offices across the country prior to the fourth. The U.S. Government is preparing for possible terrorist attacks and terrorist threats that ... continue reading


America's MOST and LEAST patriotic states in 2015 Watch

Image of Virginia [not pictured] has been named the most patriotic state.

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A recent American pride survey, published on June 29, 2015, revealed Virginia to be at the top of the current list of the most patriotic states in the USA. WalletHub, a consumer website, evaluated the military and civic engagement of all 50 states, included in the ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 2:19-22
19 So you are no longer aliens or foreign visitors; ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 117:1, 2
1 Alleluia! Praise Yahweh, all nations, extol him, ... Read More

Gospel, John 20:24-29
24 Thomas, called the Twin, who was one of the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 3rd, 2015 Image

St. Thomas
July 3: St. Thomas was a Jew, called to be one of the twelve Apostles. ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter