Blog of Rights

Anti-Gay Preaching at Fresno City College Doesn't Fly

By Paul Cates, LGBT Project at 11:10am

Today, the LGBT Project and the ACLU of Northern California sent a letter to Fresno City College demanding that the college do something about the anti-gay preaching of health science professor Dr. Bradley Lopez. In his introductory health class last semester, Professor Lopez presented his personal religious beliefs and anti-gay opinions as "science" or "fact."

Needless to say, this didn't go over so well with several of his students who took the class to learn about health, not be indoctrinated with Professor Lopez's religious views. The ACLU's demand letter includes several examples where Professor Lopez presented his beliefs and opinions as fact, including:

  • Presented a slide listing "homosexual facts," including on that described homosexuality as a "biological misapplication of human sexuality" and stated the "recommended treatment" is "psychological counseling" or "hormone supplements."
  • Presented LGBT people as a burden on and/or threat to society, claiming, for example, that anything but a heterosexual union provides a "one-sided foundation for raising children."
  • Presented Bible passages as "empirical" evidence that life begins at conception, in support of his assertion that abortion is murder and "the leading cause of death in this country" (because there are over 1 million abortions a year).
  • Followed a slide on climate change in a presentation on "environmental health" with a slide containing a biblical quote about the world ending in fire, and said "that is the real global warming we should be worried about."
  • Repeatedly referenced the Bible and used it as a teaching tool, for example assigning as homework a question about Jesus' genetic makeup.

Obviously, Professor Lopez is entitled to his beliefs and is more than welcome to express them outside the classroom. But as a state school funded by taxpayer dollars, Fresno City College has an obligation to protect its students from religious indoctrination and anti-gay bias presented as 'science' or 'fact.'

The letter sent by the ACLU charges that Professor Lopez's lectures violate federal and state constitutional protections guaranteeing the separation of church and state. To satisfy its legal obligation to combat anti-gay bias, the letter also urges the school to mandate accurate and unbiased health instruction. The letter gives the college until February 15 to explain how it intends to address the problem.

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