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.



Comments


More U.S.

GETTING AWAY WITH MURDER? U.S. policemen cleared at least 400 TIMES annually for justified homicide Watch

Image of Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in addition to more than 40 FBI agents will meet in Ferguson, Missouri, following the death of teenager Michael Brown, an unarmed robbery suspect shot six times by a police officer.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Law enforcement agents, be they police or sheriff's deputies, are frequently called upon to defend civilians. In their line of duty, policemen are required to make hair-trigger decisions in order to protect the lives of the innocent. This at times requires ... continue reading


Is the First Amendment dead? Police in Ferguson threaten to kill reporters Watch

Image of The unidentified officer will be found and it is unclear if he will face discipline for threatening to kill journalists.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Overnight, a police officer in Ferguson, MO threatened to kill a member of the press and was recorded doing so. Now a campaign has started online to identify the officer and remove him from the front lines in Ferguson before he really does act out on his threat. ... continue reading


Pope may visit New York City in 2015 Watch

Image of Pope Francis also said there was a possibility he would add Mexico to his travel plans, specifically to visit the Madonna of Guadalupe shrine Mexico City,

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While Pope Francis has confirmed that he is planning to come to the U.S. next year, a spokesman says that the pontiff may visit New York City. Pope Francis hopes to address Congress and the United Nations, as well as attend a meeting in Philadelphia. A surprise ... continue reading


On the Memorial of St. Bernard: Lord, Send Us Monks for This New Missionary Age! Watch

Image of Bernard, Monk, Abbot, Doctor of the Church, and Model of the Christian life and vocation. - Monasteries are a seedbed of the great renewals of the Catholic Church. Monks are prophetic seeds of the kingdom who always seem to be around right when we need them the most. We need Monks for the authentic renewal of the Church in this hour. Lord, send your Holy Spirit, send us monks for the renewal of your Church and the work of this new missionary age.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Even though he was regularly summoned to leave the monastery by the needs of Church and State, Bernard was above all a monk, a man of deep prayer, communion and contemplation. It was that sincere devotion which made it possible for him to have wisdom to offer the ... continue reading


So this is where school money goes?! Watch

Image of A new study shows that massive amounts of funding go to non-teacher staff in schools, which has little impact on education quality.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Non-teacher employees make up 50% of public school employees, a number which has grown 130% since 1970, a new study claims. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Using data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the Thomas B. Fordham Institute found ... continue reading


Romney weighs in: Obama is doing 'a good deal worse than even I expected' Watch

Image of Mitt Romney called President Obama out over numerous failures in the six years he has been in office during a West Virginia political rally.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney made quite a scene as he attended a West Virginia rally for three Republican Congressional candidates who are up for election in November. Crowds cheered "Mitt! Mitt! Mitt!" as he spoke. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) ... continue reading


Money is NOT the Root of Evil. Learning to Live Evangelical Simplicity in an Age of Idolatry Watch

Image of Simplicity is not about the quantity of the goods of the earth we possess. It is about our relationship to them. Jesus said - Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matt. 6:21).

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Learning to live in evangelical Simplicity strips away what impedes love. In finding our proper relationship to the goods of the earth- not rejecting them, craving them, or turning them into an idol- we can learn true freedom. Our eyes are opened and everything begins ... continue reading


STUPID: Political analyst says indictment of Texas governor is 'the stupidest thing I've ever seen' Watch

Image of A video taken inside the jail after her arrest shows an aggressive, uncooperative Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg under restraint.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Calling it "potentially was the stupidest thing I've seen, I think, in my entire career," MSNBC political analyst Mark Halperin says the indictment of Texas Governor Rick Perry on two felony counts of abusing his power is asinine. "I hope some judge throws it ... continue reading


Persecution: W. W. Bridal Shop Forced Out of Business Because the Owners Are Faithful Christians Watch

Image of W.W. Bridal Boutique in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania is being forced out of business because its owners are faithful Christians who believe that marriage is solely between one man and one woman.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

In the first two centuries of Christianity, as the early Christians sought to serve in the broader Roman society by engaging in all suitable occupations, some occupations had to be avoided. To practice them would require them to violate their faith. As some other ... continue reading


Obama denounced as 'greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation' Watch

Image of In the face of incarceration that could arrive this year, James Risen has resorted to journalistic defiance.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Denouncing U.S. President Barack Obama as "the greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation," New York Times reporter James Risen now faces jail time over his refusal to reveal a source. Risen also refuses to testify against a former CIA agent accused of ... 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, Ezekiel 36:23-28
23 I am going to display the holiness of my great ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 51:12-13, 14-15, 18-19
12 Give me back the joy of your salvation, sustain in ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 22:1-14
1 Jesus began to speak to them in parables once ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 21st, 2014 Image

St. Pius X
August 21: On June 2, 1835, Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto saw the light of ... 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