I hate to gossip – especially about a gossip columnist – but rumor has it that Perez Hilton just landed a new job. He’ll be leaving the world’s second most embarrassing profession to join the world’s most embarrassing profession. Yep, you guessed it; he’s going to become a college professor.
Eastern Michigan University (EMU) has decided to hire Perez Hilton to teach in its counseling program. The decision follows a recent controversy that has landed the school in federal court.
School officials dismissed a student, Julea Ward, from the school’s counseling program for not affirming homosexual behavior as morally acceptable. Julea is a black woman – in other words, someone who is a minority on the basis of biology. Unlike gays, Julea makes no effort to assert minority status on the basis of individual choice.
Julea is also, like Carrie Prejean, a brave and principled individual. She would not agree prior to a counseling session to affirm a client’s homosexual behavior. Nor would she retract her stance in subsequent disciplinary proceedings at EMU. She recognizes that gays are no longer seeking tolerance in America, they are seeking approval. And she knows that the First Amendment preserves our freedom to speak that which we believe as well as our freedom to not speak that which we do not believe.
The Alliance Defense Fund is handling the lawsuit. Their Senior Counsel David French summed the case up best by saying, "When a public university has a prerequisite of affirming homosexual behavior as morally good in order to obtain a degree, the school is stepping over the legal line.” French also noted that Julea did the responsible thing (following her supervising professor’s advice) to have the client referred to a counselor who did not have a religious conscience issue with the matter to be discussed in counseling.
EMU requires students in its program to affirm or validate homosexual behavior within the context of a counseling relationship. It also prohibits students from advising clients that they can change their homosexual behavior. But Julea Ward has never addressed the issue of homosexual behavior during counseling sessions with clients. That has never been an issue.
EMU initiated its Orwellian disciplinary process against Ward and informed her that there was only one way she could stay in the graduate school counseling program: She would have to agree to undergo a "remediation" program.
The purpose of the “remediation” program would be to help Ward "see the error of her ways" and change her "belief system" as it relates to counseling about homosexual relationships. It would ensure she changed her beliefs to be in line with the university’s views. When Ward did not agree with the conditions, she was given the option of either a) voluntarily leaving the program or, b) asking for a formal review hearing.
For those who aren’t following this twisted logic, there are three points worth highlighting in rule form:
1) The university has “official” beliefs and uses the authority of the state to enforce them.
2) The belief that homosexuality can be changed is not among them. Hence, it cannot be expressed.
3) The belief that traditional religious views can be changed is a state-sanctioned belief. The state may act upon this belief in accordance with rule #1.
I am pleased that Julea Ward chose the hearing. But I am displeased to hear that during the hearing EMU faculty denigrated her Christian views and asked numerous inappropriate questions about her religious beliefs. I am also displeased that the hearing committee dismissed her from the counseling program in March. Finally, I am displeased that the dean of the College of Education upheld the dismissal two weeks later.
Everything I have written in this column is true, except for the part about hiring Perez Hilton to teach at EMU. The university does not need more intolerant bigots embedded within the ranks of the professoriate and given the protection of tenure. I am only thankful that EMU students are not actually asked to engage in homosexual sex acts in order to obtain class credit.
Surely, no one would defend such an outrageous assignment. But we will soon find out after a future column. A professor in Missouri has already given social work students homework asking them to experiment with homosexuality.
To be continued.