Ohio- Judges in a legal proceeding on the Civil Rights of Christians threaten to overthrow a powerful tool of the left by ruling that a Christian professor has protected rights to follow his Christian faith over demands by LGBTQ activists. The social construct of “misgendering” someone has taken a lethal legal blow.
“The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday ruled in favor of a “devout Christian” professor who was disciplined because he “refused to refer to students by their ‘preferred pronouns’” after a 2016 directive at a small state university in Ohio ordered him to do so,” Law and Crime reported.
The Alliance defending freedom wrote about the case:
Meriwether v. The Trustees of Shawnee State University
Shawnee State University officials punished philosophy professor Nicholas Meriwether because he declined a male student’s demand to be referred to as a woman, with feminine titles and pronouns (“Miss,” “she,” etc.). Although the philosophy professor offered to use any name the student requested, the university rejected that compromise, choosing instead to force the professor to speak and act contrary to his own Christian convictions and philosophical beliefs.
“Christians are primarily motivated out of fear [and they should be] banned from teaching courses regarding that religion.,” wrote the Dean of Students & department chair of Shawnee State, Jennifer Pauley.
The court held that university officials and a lower federal district court failed to recognize the professor’s First Amendment rights to free speech and to the free exercise of his religion. By so holding, the court decried the notion that a university might “wield alarming power to compel ideological conformity.”
The professor, Nicholas Meriwether, “strives to live out his faith each day,” the Sixth Circuit’s opinion reads. As such, “his religious convictions influence how he thinks about human nature, marriage, gender, sexuality, morality, politics, and social issues.” Meriwether believes that “God created human beings as either male or female, that this sex is fixed in each person from the moment of conception, and that it cannot be changed, regardless of an individual’s feelings or desires,” opinion adds.
The college, Shawnee State University, employed Meriwether for 25 years. He taught courses in philosophy, religion, ethics, and the “History of Christian Thought.”
According to the Sixth Circuit, a university directive said that any professor who “refused to use a pronoun that reflects a student’s self-asserted gender identity” would face discipline. When Meriwether questioned officials about what role his own beliefs played in what he was allowed to say, he was told he must call students what they wished to be called “regardless of” his own “convictions or views on the subject.”
The 6th Circuit explained that if “professors lacked free-speech protections when teaching, a university would wield alarming power to compel ideological conformity. A university president could require a pacifist to declare that war is just, a civil rights icon to condemn the Freedom Riders, a believer to deny the existence of God, or a Soviet émigré to address his students as ‘comrades.’ That cannot be.”