Christianity earned itself another massive win in the American culture war, as an Illinois college was ordered to $80,000 to a student whose conservative views were silenced by the school. Southern Illinois University Edwardsville will have to pay the fine, and three professors will need to undergo First Amendment Training as a part of the lawsuit.
The Alliance Defending Freedom battled against the university to win the case, which has been cast into the national eye as yet another major victory for conservative thoughts on campus. The settlement will also force Southern Illinois University Edwardsville to amend its student handbook to ensure that every student is offered the right to express their political and religious beliefs.
According to Fox News, the lawsuit stemmed from student Maggie DeJong, who received a no-contact order from the school, barring her from speaking to three other students who found her views to be “harassment” and “discrimination.”
Chancellor James T. Minor released a statement, which in part said the following. “For decades, universities have embraced the challenge of vigorously protecting free speech while at the same time creating a safe learning environment for the expression of diverse views. Protecting these two principles can create tensions.
“For example, while the First Amendment protects free speech (no matter how offensive), it does not protect behavior on a campus that creates a pervasively hostile environment for other students. We accept that balancing these two deeply valued principles of free speech and a safe environment, in real-time, represent inherent complications for administering prudence.”
This is yet another notch in the belt for The Alliance Defending Freedom, who describe themselves as “one of the leading Christian law firms committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, marriage and family, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.”
Continuing on, the ADF website states, “ADF is one of the nation’s most respected and successful United States Supreme Court advocates. We have played various roles in 74 Supreme Court victories. Since 2011, ADF has represented parties in 15 victories at the Supreme Court. These victories have been on behalf of pastors, churches, religious organizations, college students, family-owned businesses, pro-life pregnancy centers, and many others.”
Organizations like the ADF continually play a crucial role in making sure that officials in positions of power, like the administrators of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, are held accountable for their unconstitutional actions. On top of this case, they have taken, victoriously, many cases to the Federal Supreme Court.
Explaining why the organization was formed, the website says, “ADF was launched in 1994 by leaders in the Christian community like Alan Sears, Bill Bright, James Dobson, Larry Burkett, and Dr. D. James Kennedy. These leaders wanted to create an alliance-building legal organization with the goal of keeping the doors open for the Gospel.”
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