A college professor who refused to be bullied into speaking nonsense — that is, referring to a male student using feminine pronouns – has lost a lawsuit in which he alleged that being forced to use such language was an infringement of his freedom of religion.
That is, you can be forced into saying things you know to be false by another individual, and other individuals are free to redefine the language you use.
After Shawnee State University’s administration rebuked him for not using a transgender student’s preferred pronouns, Nicholas Meriwether said that using the language was against his Christian faith and that the requirement from the college violated his rights. He has taught religion and philosophy at the school since 1996, according to ctvnews.
The school responded that using the inaccurate language was a reasonable request connected to Meriwether’s position as a professor and was not a violation of his civil rights. On Feb. 12 a judge dismissed the lawsuit.
The student in question was born male but preferred being treated as a female. Meriwether refused and referred to the student with male pronouns.
Asaf Orr, a lawyer at the National Center for Lesbian Rights praised the ruling, saying that transgender students would have greater access to “educational opportunities available to all students without fear of discrimination.”
“Since this lawsuit began, transgender students have been worried that they would have to start skipping classes or avoid particular professors because Shawnee State would no longer be able to effectively address bullying, harassment, and mistreatment of transgender students,” said Jae Keniston, president of SAGA.
Meriwether’s attorney, Travis Barham of the Alliance Defending Freedom, said they are considering taking further steps to defend his client’s rights.
“This is wrong,” Barham said. “Public universities have no business compelling people to express ideological beliefs that they don’t hold.”