One of my dearest friends on Facebook sent me this message on my wall this morning: Hey! Mr. Writer look on my site and write for me an editorial on standing up for Christian religion that is being under attack. I’m not sure where to begin with this one. Those who know me well know that I say I’m not a “bible-beater” and I don’t mean that in a derogatory sense. It’s just that I don’t go around quoting scripture or announcing my faith loudly, particularly in a forum such as Facebook, where so many people think it’s not the place for politics or religion. On the other hand, I also firmly believe in freedom of speech in that forum so here goes.
The article she was referring to was a recent ruling on the part of a federal judge’s decision in favor of a public university that removed a Christian student from its counseling program over her belief that homosexuality is morally wrong. U.S. District Judge George Caram Steeh dismissed a lawsuit Julea Ward filed against Eastern Michigan University (EMU) alleging she was removed from the school’s graduate counseling program last year after she refused to counsel homosexual clients about relationships.
One of the first things that “pops” into my head when I read this article was this, and it relates to my personal experience within the AA program and my overall personal beliefs: No one, and I mean no one, has the right to judge another, particularly when it comes to matters of freedoms guaranteed to us as citizens under the Constitution of the United States. While some would argue that this individual should have set aside her personal religious beliefs in exchange for providing counseling for another human being who is an admitted homosexual, I tend to disagree. Admittedly, I hold a bias against homosexuality in general, and though I’m not sure what Jesus would say on this topic or what the bible says, it is my belief that homosexuality itself is morally wrong. But that’s not the point of this blog. The real crux of the matter is what right does a school have to impose its “student policies” on a counselor who is merely exercising her fundamental right of freedom of religion guaranteed to her under the Constitution? More importantly, this judge’s ruling sets a dangerous precedent for further attacks against Christians in the workplace who express those rights of religious freedom openly.
It comes down to this. While I was incarcerated and the resulting humility I learned because of that experience, I have come to believe that no one has the right to judge another over ANYTHING, be it religion, political views, or whatever. Only God has that right. Now, one could argue hey, that’s what the legal system is for. After all, the school DOES have rights too, you know. And this counselor should have known what those rights are, what duties she must perform to represent the school. May be. But here again, who is to say what takes precedence? The school’s policies or the student’s rights of religious freedom? A court? One judge? I don’t think so.
As I wrote this though, something else has occurred to me. Given my own background with the legal system, the fact that I recently completed a paralegal program, and the beliefs I have stated here about no one having the right to sit in judgment of another, what is MY purpose in life then? An interesting question. Here’s my own answer. I believe there IS a place for me to be a POSITIVE influence in law. To serve others who have been treated unjustly, at least from the perspective of a man who values common sense and basic fundamental freedoms such as the one which is the topic of this blog. The legal system has its place, of that there is no doubt, but in this instance, I believe it has crossed the line of violating basic rights under the Constitution, as well as plain old common sense.