Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Peter J. Smith

7/17/2009 (6 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 (6 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.

ATHEISTS LOSE: A big win for religion as Big Mountain Jesus remains Watch

Image of Big Mountain Jesus statue looks upon the earth.

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Atheist activists lost a years-long battle this week over the "Big Mountain Jesus statue," which has been standing for over 60 years on public land near the Big Mountain ski resort in Montana. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - The statue was made to ... continue reading


Excitement builds with massive mural of Pope Francis before his midtown Manhattan visit Watch

Image of Commissioned by DeSales Media Group, the communications and technology arm of the Diocese of Brooklyn, the mural is drawing positive attention to the pending papal visit.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Excitement is building in New York City with the visit of Pope Francis this September 24. A massive, hand-painted mural, 225-feet tall has been placed in midtown Manhattan at the corner of Eighth Avenue and 34th Street, close to Madison Square Garden, where the ... continue reading


Five Chinese warships sail near Alaskan coast during Obama's visit Watch

Image of The nation of China has increased defense spending to modernize its forces. China is set to hold a massive military parade this week featuring some 12,000 troops this week, marking the 70 years since World War II ended in Asia.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Unnamed defense officials have identified a Chinese amphibious ship, a replenishment vessel and three surface combatant ships - altogether five Chinese warships in the Bering Sea off Alaska. The ships were sighted during U.S. President Barack Obama's three-day ... continue reading


Immigrants on welfare: Relevant factors often ignored Watch

Image of Workers harvest plants.

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Center of Immigration Studies, a group that advocates for lower levels of immigration, released a report showing 51 percent of immigrant-led households receive some kind of welfare benefit. Benefits include Medicaid, food stamps, school lunches, housing assistance ... continue reading


Pope Francis to give United States Mass in Spanish Watch

Image of Pope Francis to deliver Washington Mass in Spanish.

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Cardinal Donald William Wuerl has announced Pope Francis' decision to give his Washington Mass on September 23 in Spanish. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "It's a recognition of how large the Hispanic population in the United States is," Wuerl said. "And he's ... continue reading


Obama gets votes to protect Iran nuclear deal Watch

Image of Barbara Mikulski becomes the 34th vote for the nuclear deal.

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The nuclear deal between the United States, China, Britain, France, Russia, Germany and Iran has been under intense scrutiny from Republicans and some Democrats, however Democratic Senator Barbara Mikulski has agreed to pledge support. Mikulski's support means ... continue reading


Pope Francis asks American teenager to sing for him Watch

Image of Valerie Herrera sings

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

17-year-old Valerie Herrera, a senior at Cristo Bey Jesuit High School, was asked by Pope Francis to sing a song. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Americans were invited to a virtual meeting with Pope Francis via satellite, which was moderated from inside the ... continue reading


Making the punishment fit the crime - Ohio judge doles out unusual sentences Watch

Image of Judge Michael Cicconetti's type of justice seems to be working, as only 10 percent of those who complete the judge's unusual sentences wind up in court a second time.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Making the punishment fit the crime seems to be the method behind Judge Michael Cicconetti's madness. The Ohio judge metes out unusual sentences in lieu of hefty fines and jail time. It must be working, as those sentenced to perform the unlikely, court-mandated ... continue reading


Pope Francis holds virtual audience with Americans prior to U.S. visit Watch

Image of Pope Francis participated in a virtual audience hosted by ABC News. Moderated inside the Vatican by ABC News'

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Speaking to Americans nationwide, Pope Francis participated in a virtual audience hosted by ABC News. Moderated inside the Vatican by ABC News' "World News Tonight," the segment will air this Friday, September 4, on ABC's "20/20" news program. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


'It just fell out': Latest Planned Parenthood hidden-camera footage reveals a sickening lack of human values (WARNING: Graphic Video) Watch

Image of Procurement Manager, Perrin Larton

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Planned Parenthood is exposed once again in another undercover video from the Center for Medical Progress. A conversation with Dr. Katharine Sheehan, long-time medical director of Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest until 2013, Perrin Larton, the Procurement ... 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, Colossians 1:15-20
15 He is the image of the unseen God, the first-born ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 100:1, 2, 3, 4, 5
1 [Psalm For thanksgiving] Acclaim Yahweh, all the ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 5:33-39
33 They then said to him, 'John's disciples are ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 4th, 2015 Image

St. Rosalia
September 4: St. Rosalia, daughter of Sinibald, Lord of Roses and Quisquina, ... 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