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Do you think Azusa Pacific had the right to ask a professor to leave for being transgendered?

Posted by on Sep. 25, 2013 at 8:17 AM
  • 14 Replies

Transgendered Professor Let Go From Christian University for Being a 'Distraction'

by Jenny Erikson

A professor at a California Christian University has finally found peace, but it comes at the cost of his job. H. Adam Ackley has been asked to step down from teaching theology and philosophy at Azusa Pacific University, because until this year, he was a she known as Heather Clements.

Ackley is in the third year of a five-year contract, but university officials have asked other teachers to take over his classes. He says the school has agreed to pay him through the end of the year, but not cover medical treatment for hormone therapy or “top surgery” through insurance.

Azusa apparently does not have an official policy on transgender issues, except to say, “Humans were created as gendered beings.”

Ackley said:

I did not get a sense directly from the individuals with whom I was speaking that they had a theological problem with transgender identity. I did get the message that it has to do with their concern that other people, such as donors, parents, and churches connected to the university will have problems not understanding transgender identity.

This is one of those tough situations that are becoming increasingly common in today’s culture. Ackley has struggled with gender-identity issues from childhood, and only made the switch this year after the American Psychiatric Association removed “gender identity disorder” from its list of mental illnesses. “This year has been a transition from being a mentally ill woman to being a sane, transgendered man,” he said.

While I applaud Ackley’s decision to live his life the way that he wants to, rather than conforming to societal or even religious norms, I also stand by Azuza Pacific’s right to ask him to step down. Agree with the decision or not, this is a private, religious school, and if they want their teachers to adhere to a particular code of conduct, then that’s their decision to make.

To force religious institutions to act in a way that is contrary to their beliefs tramples the First Amendment. One person’s right to his or her own lifestyle choices does not trump freedom of religion, even if a lot of people disagree with it. For example -- I love bacon cheeseburgers, but I’m not going to ask a kosher chef to make me one, even though I totally don’t understand how you can live a full life without knowing the insane deliciousness that is meat and cheese and bacon on a toasted bun with pickles.

Yes, H. Adam Ackley has every right to live as a man, and it seems like he’s already offering hope and inspiring others by being vocal about his faith and gender identity. But Azusa Pacific also has the right politely ask him to step down for making those lifestyle choices.

Do you think Azusa Pacific had the right to ask a professor to leave for being transgendered?

by on Sep. 25, 2013 at 8:17 AM
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Replies (1-10):
rfurlongg
by on Sep. 25, 2013 at 8:19 AM
Azusa is a well known very conservative Christian college. Do they receive federal or state funds?
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
jhslove
by Bronze Member on Sep. 25, 2013 at 8:22 AM

I think this is the big question. If they receive federal or state money, no, they don't have the right to discriminate against the professor for being transgendered.

If they are an entirely private institution and don't receive any government money, then I believe they're within their legal rights (although IMO not their moral rights, but that's irrelevant) to discriminate. I would simply choose not to support or affiliate with this college because of their views, which is my right, just as they have the legal right to discriminate against anyone they want AS LONG AS they're not receiving government money.


Quoting rfurlongg:

Azusa is a well known very conservative Christian college. Do they receive federal or state funds?



tanyainmizzou
by on Sep. 25, 2013 at 8:23 AM

When did transgender become federally protected?

Quoting jhslove:

I think this is the big question. If they receive federal or state money, no, they don't have the right to discriminate against the professor for being transgendered.

If they are an entirely private institution and don't receive any government money, then I believe they're within their legal rights (although IMO not their moral rights, but that's irrelevant) to discriminate. I would simply choose not to support or affiliate with this college because of their views, which is my right, just as they have the legal right to discriminate against anyone they want AS LONG AS they're not receiving government money.


Quoting rfurlongg:

Azusa is a well known very conservative Christian college. Do they receive federal or state funds?




candlegal
by Judy on Sep. 25, 2013 at 9:03 AM



Quote:

Azusa Pacific also has the right politely ask him to step down for making those lifestyle choices.

jhslove
by Bronze Member on Sep. 25, 2013 at 9:34 AM

In 2012, I believe.

www.eeoc.gov/federal/otherprotections.cfm

www.shrm.org/legalissues/federalresources/pages/eeoctransgender.aspx


Quoting tanyainmizzou:

When did transgender become federally protected?

Quoting jhslove:

I think this is the big question. If they receive federal or state money, no, they don't have the right to discriminate against the professor for being transgendered.

If they are an entirely private institution and don't receive any government money, then I believe they're within their legal rights (although IMO not their moral rights, but that's irrelevant) to discriminate. I would simply choose not to support or affiliate with this college because of their views, which is my right, just as they have the legal right to discriminate against anyone they want AS LONG AS they're not receiving government money.


Quoting rfurlongg:

Azusa is a well known very conservative Christian college. Do they receive federal or state funds?






tanyainmizzou
by on Sep. 25, 2013 at 9:43 AM
Quoting jhslove:

In 2012, I believe.

www.eeoc.gov/federal/otherprotections.cfm

www.shrm.org/legalissues/federalresources/pages/eeoctransgender.aspx


Quoting tanyainmizzou:

When did transgender become federally protected?

Quoting jhslove:

I think this is the big question. If they receive federal or state money, no, they don't have the right to discriminate against the professor for being transgendered.

If they are an entirely private institution and don't receive any government money, then I believe they're within their legal rights (although IMO not their moral rights, but that's irrelevant) to discriminate. I would simply choose not to support or affiliate with this college because of their views, which is my right, just as they have the legal right to discriminate against anyone they want AS LONG AS they're not receiving government money.


Quoting rfurlongg:Azusa is a well known very conservative Christian college. Do they receive federal or state funds?










So you are saying that taking federal money makes them federal emplpyes?

I am reading the first link as being about federal employees.
jllcali
by Jane on Sep. 25, 2013 at 10:25 AM
If they get federal money, no. If they run entirely off private funds, yes.
momtoscott
by Platinum Member on Sep. 25, 2013 at 2:57 PM
Their decision is unethical. Probably not illegal.
pamelax3
by Gold Member on Sep. 25, 2013 at 3:06 PM

The professor knew what type of religious environment the college was, if it is privately funded then they had every right to ask

JoanahLee
by on Sep. 25, 2013 at 3:11 PM

Why is it that having enough money to run a private organization is all one needs to be able to discriminate aginst whomever they please?  

I understand that in todays society, with the way the laws are currently written they do have the right to ask him to step down.  But I also think that is really screwed up. 

Do they also fire every staff member who cheats, drinks and uses the phrase 'god damn it'.  Do they dismiss every student who has had premarital sex, looked at porn or disrespected his parents. 

Feel free to make your super exclusive enviornment filled only with people who follow your rules... but thats not whats happening here, they are selecting one rule (that is not even IN the bible) to enforce. 

As a note to the author, who I gather is not the person who posted the article(?), there is no need to put top surgery into quotations.  Quotations denote sarcasm, a change of tone, or a quote from someone else that you are simply putting in your article, not vouching for the validity of.  Top surgery is real, it is valid, it does not need quotations.  

Eg:  The woman was working all night, she was worn out.  Vs. The woman was "working" all night, she was worn out.   It changes the statment drasticlly.  

 


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