(Onenewsnow.com) Charlie Butts and Jody Brown
After being called a "fascist" by his professor, a Christian California student has filed suit against his college for violations of his free-speech rights.
Less than a month after voters in California decided to amend their state constitution and protect traditional marriage, Jonathan Lopez -- in a public speaking class -- shared his beliefs on faith and marriage. David French of the Alliance Defense Fund picks up the story.
"Jonathan talked about his faith -- and one of the things he talked about in context of his faith was...marriage," says French. "He read from the dictionary definition of marriage. The professor stopped the class, called him a 'fascist b_____d' -- [he] used the expletive -- [and] told the class that anyone who wanted to could leave if they were offended...."
According to an ADF press release, when no one got up to leave, the instructor simply dismissed the class, effectively ending Lopez's speech -- which violated the student's free-speech rights, adds the attorney, especially since other students made speeches on other subjects. Religious speech, notes French, apparently was excluded from the open-ended speech assignment.
"You just cannot shut down student speech like that," states French, who explains that Lopez was well within the confines of his professor's assignment, and that the professor's actions not only constitute viewpoint discrimination but also comprise "retaliation" because he disagreed with Lopez's religious beliefs.
According to the ADF attorney, the professor was not yet finished. "When [Lopez later] complained about what was an obvious act of censorship, he was threatened with expulsion by that same professor," he says.
The speech professor is identified as John Matteson of Los Angeles Community College. ADF reports that after Proposition 8 (the marriage-related constitutional amendment) was approved on November 4, Matteson told his entire class: "If you voted yes on Proposition 8, you are a fascist b_____d."
Ultimately Matteson refused to grade Lopez's November 24 speech, and wrote on the evaluation: "Ask God what your grade is."