A superior court judge has upheld an arbitrator's decision to reinstate a Christian professor who was terminated for challenging students beliefs on sexuality.
Professor Eric Thompson was fired for encouraging critical thinking on liberal views toward marriage, gender roles, and sexual orientation while the Supreme Court was hearing arguments for the legalization of gay marriage.
Thompson has taught at Moreno Valley College since 2005 and has twice been named "Faculty of the Year." He introduced conservative views to his students during class discussions on human sexuality and asked them to defend their assumptions and beliefs.
He also circulated the film 'Understanding Same-Sex Attraction' which suggests homosexuality might be a choice rather than biologically hard-wired.
The college said his actions were immoral and students said they considered challenging their views is "harassment" and "dangerous."
The Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) represented Thompson in his case against the school and says Thompson simply provided both sides of the argument at a time when the country and Supreme Court was fiercely debating gay marriage.
"He addressed both sides, Heaven forbid. He provided both perspectives, encouraged critical thinking, encouraged class discussion, and debate on the topic. Well, because he did that, because he provided both sides, he was terminated. They said, this university's position was, 'Oh no, there's only one side. Only one side is allowed in this university and that's the pro-gay marriage side," said Brad Dacus, founder and president of the Pacific Justice Institute.
"That is outrageous because professors are supposed to provide critical thinking in a public university," he added.
On July 9, the judge's ruling concluded with the arbitrator's statement: "reaching a determination as to what is acceptable academic speech can well be subtle and 'difficult'- should not be prohibited- simply because society finds it offensive or disagreeable."
While Dacus applauds Thompson's reinstatement, he issued a warning to other universities that discriminate against their staff and students who think critically about controversial issues.
"Make no mistake universities across the country, you need to learn that if you try to purge professors because of their ideology because it's not the far left perspective, or punish students, there are ramifications. And our organization, Pacific Justice Institute, will wholeheartedly defend these students," said Dacus.
Founder and President of PJI, Brad Dacus said, "We are encouraged by this court's decision to protect Professor Thompson's voice of reason from being squelched out of the classroom. Our legal team is on the battleground of college campuses to protect the First Amendment rights of teachers and students."