Usually May is the time of the year when students are fitted for the cap and gown, count their credits, pay their school bill and plan the parties. With a firm handshake and a costly piece of paper, they will start their lives in the real world.
That won't be true for Julea Ward, who used to be a graduate student at Eastern Michigan University until she was kicked out for her religious beliefs.
Ms. Ward was enrolled in a graduate program at the school and as part of her education was required to enroll in a counseling practicum. In that practicum, she was assigned a case involving a homosexual who needed help. Ms. Ward did not feel that she could affirm the student's homosexual lifestyle because of her Christian beliefs, so she asked her supervisor what she should do. His advice was to refer the student to a counselor who had no qualms with affirming homosexual behavior. That is what she did, and it was all done before she saw the student. There was no counseling that took place between the two, there was no confrontation between the two, and there was no condemnation of homosexuality -- just an honest confession of her deeply held religious belief. But the story doesn't end there.
Julea was summoned to appear before a disciplinary hearing and told that if she wanted to continue on with her graduate program, she would have to submit to a "remediation" program so that she could see "the error of her ways." She refused to be forced into a re-education program designed to convert her from biblical faith, and as a result, she was kicked out of school. There's your tolerance.
Now, remember, Julea didn't demand that the student be denied help, she didn't get in his face and tell him he's condemned to hell, she didn't even roll her eyes and give a general impression of disgust. She simply told the truth, obeyed what her supervisor told her to do, and carried on with her life.
Does it scare you that the people overseeing her program weren't content with the fact that she acted properly and with integrity? Does is scare you that they wanted her to change not just her actions, but her religious beliefs?
If you have a child in a publicly funded college or university, this should make all kinds of alarms go off in your head. Any parent who takes their faith life seriously, no matter what brand, should be very concerned.
Publicly funded colleges and universities, and even private schools, used to pride themselves on being open forums, encouraging diversity of beliefs and philosophies. They still think that is what they are, but the truth is becoming clear: they are open to some ideas, as long as they are not from an evangelical Christian worldview, and as long as you don't practice what you preach.
Now the government is getting into the act of criminalizing your Christian conscience. Two pieces of legislation heading for Congress are sure to be used to turn what used to be religious principles into a crime. The administration is moving to repeal the "conscience clause" that protects healthcare workers from performing procedures that violate their beliefs, and protects faith-based healthcare facilities (think Catholic hospitals) from being sued for not performing abortions and the like. If the conscience clause is overturned, following your faith-informed conscience will no longer be constitutionally protected, and may well become a criminal act.
The second piece of legislation that attacks Christian faith is the so-called "hate speech" rule (H.R. 1913 / S. 909). Under this proposed law, cloaked in the guise of "protection," it is possible to see courts prosecuting any people of faith from speaking out against homosexuality, abortion, fetal stem-cell experimentation, and a host of other issues not deemed politically correct.
Maybe we need to change our national motto from "In God We Trust" to "Trust in God at Your Own Peril."