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AG – Schuette Defends Constitutionally-Protected Religious Freedoms on Campus

April 22, 2011
Over Sen. Roger Kahn’s objection, Senate Appropriations Committee acts to stop religious discrimination at Michigan state universities

AFA-Michigan honored Julea Ward at our 2009 banquet for refusing to capitulate to Eastern Michigan University’s demand that she retract her statement of faith.

Read the infuriating transcript of EMU’s kangaroo court proceedings in which academic elites belittled Julea’s faith, mocked her, lectured her on what (they thought) she should believe, and finally expelled her for standing her ground: http://blog.mlive.com/annarbornews_impact/2009/04/EMUhearing_transcript.pdf

The state Senate Appropriations Committee in Lansing Thursday inserted into the higher education budget a provision supported by the American Family Association of Michigan requiring state colleges and universities that offer counseling degrees to report to lawmakers what steps they are taking to ensure the religious conscience rights of students of faith. The House higher ed subcommittee has already approved the same language.

The motion was made by Senator Mark Jansen, R-Grand Rapids, and according to a legislator who watched the proceedings, it passed on a 10 to 6 party line vote with one exception. All Republicans but one voted in favor of the language.

Sen. Roger Kahn, R-Saginaw, was the lone Republican to join all committee Democrats in voting against protecting Michigan college and university students from religious discrimination.

The language is lawmakers’ response to the case of Eastern Michigan University graduate student Julea Ward, an African-American Christian with a 4.3 GPA in the school’s counseling degree program, who was expelled two years ago when she refused to counsel a student who asked for advice on how to improve his homosexual relationship. Ward said being forced to encourage such a relationship would violate her sincerely held religious convictions.

She filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against EMU alleging religious discrimination, which is currently before the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Attorney General Bill Schuette has filed an amicus brief with the court supporting Ward’s lawsuit.

AFA-Michigan President Gary Glenn, Midland, commented: “Before the full Senate votes next week, we hope families in Gratiot and Saginaw County will join us in urging Sen. Kahn to stand with Attorney General Schuette and other Republicans in acting to eliminate religious discrimination on campus against students who refuse to compromise their faith and right of conscience.”

Contact Sen. Roger Kahn at senrkahn@senate.michigan.gov or by phone at 517-373-1760.
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