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Student Suspended for Quoting the Bible

May 26th, 2023

A student at a public community college in New Jersey was recently suspended after quoting the Bible, and now he has filed a lawsuit.

The assumption is that when you send your child to school, they will be free to speak their mind. Schools – and especially colleges – are supposed to be places where new ideas can flow freely. These are places where intellectuals debate interesting ideas and challenge each other’s philosophies. As long as a student’s speech does not disrupt the learning environment, should they have the ability to contribute to this free flow of ideas? If a student’s speech is curtailed, can we truly call ourselves a free country? Or, is it worth limiting free speech in order to protect other people’s feelings from being hurt? These are the questions we find ourselves asking after one student was recently suspended in New Jersey for quoting the Bible – and it is causing quite a stir. 

Quoting the Bible Could Be Considered Hate Speech

There is no denying that when one student was caught quoting the Bible at the County College of Morris, he was doing so in a controversial manner. He quoted a specific passage that warned of the sins of sexual immorality, adultery, homosexuality, theft, greed, alcoholism, and fraud. This passage states that anyone who practices these sins will not inherit the kingdom of heaven. 

When another individual witnessed the student quoting the Bible, they reported him to the college. The college then issued the student a written warning, explaining that this religious scripture was a form of hate speech and that it demonstrated a bias against LGBTQ+ people. Finally, the written warning informed the student that he had just violated New Jersey Law. The student did not cease quoting scripture, and as a result, he was suspended for 11 days. 

The Student Has Filed a Lawsuit

The problem is that this college is a publicly-funded educational institution, which means that it must adhere to the Constitution. And as many of us are undoubtedly aware, the Constitution guarantees both religious freedom and freedom of expression. This means that the student has a clear and obvious path to litigation – one that he has taken with help from America First Legal. With help from his lawyers, the student notes that the college’s written warning states that they “accept everyone.” 

Clearly, this acceptance does not extend to anyone who does not share their opinions. The student was also instructed to undergo “safe space training” and “implicit bias training.” In addition, the school warned that if he did not play by their rules, he would be removed from the educational institution altogether. 

An America First Legal representative highlighted this lack of openness and willingness to accept new ideas in a statement:

“For generations, colleges and universities were centers for free speech and the open exchange of ideas. American students were taught to disagree with each other respectfully. This is no longer true, and many colleges and universities have become centers of censorship. Woke bureaucrats in colleges across the United States are more than happy to silence speech with which they disagree. We will not let this go on our watch.”

The Goal of the Universal Life Church’s Blog

Each week, the Universal Life Church’s blog focuses on documenting the most noteworthy cases involving the required separation between church and state and freedom of religion. Our blog focuses on describing matters in a way that objectively examines both sides and which can be easily understood by readers. 

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