Should University Professors Be Forced To Attend Productions That Offend Their Religious Beliefs?

I pose the question not just to universities, but to any employee – employer relationship: should an employee be forced to attend a production or function that goes against their personal religious beliefs?

Former Lamar University theater and dance professor Linda Ozmun found out that the answer is yes.  Employers believe they have the right to demand attendance at a religiously offensive performance.  When she didn’t attend for religious reasons, she was reprimanded and denied tenure.

According to one source, in the fall of 2010, an artist with some connections with Lamar University performed a one-man show in town.  The artist, Tim Miller is a flaming homosexual and his play was all about his perverse lifestyle and included obscene language and sexually graphic gestures.  After receiving numerous complaints from the community about Miller’s show, it was quickly shut down.

But not to be thwarted, some of the theater students at the university arranged for an encore showing on campus.  Knowing Miller’s reputation and the negative publicity the play received, Ozmun chose not to attend because of her Christian faith and values.  Her absence was noticed by Judith Sebesta, chair of the theater and dance department at Lamar.

Sebesta questioned Ozmun about her absence from the play, at which time Ozmun explained that the play was offensive to her Christian faith and values and because of her faith, she felt compelled not to attend.  At the end of that year, Ozmun received her annual evaluation which recorded her performance grade as unacceptable.  There was a notation on the review referring to her failure to attend the Miller event.  Ozmun filed a grievance and a short time later received it back with the notation that it had not been heard.

Ozmun was also informed that when the university brought Miller back the next year that her attendance was mandatory or she would face disciplinary action.  In the fall of 2011, Lamar University did bring Miller back to perform his play, Glory Box and to conduct a student workshop where he was supposed to help theater students ‘find their voice.’

When Ozmun was informed of the return engagement, she went to Sebesta with a formal request to be excused from the performance because it was offensive to her Christian faith.  The request was denied and again Ozmun was told that failure to attend would result in disciplinary action.  Ozmun believed that she still had the religious right not to attend and when she didn’t, Sebesta issued disciplinary action.

Ozmun has since filed a lawsuit against Sebesta and Lamar University on grounds that they discriminated against her because of her religious beliefs.  The university promptly terminated her, and as part of her lawsuit, she is asking to be reinstated and receive her lost salary.

There have been cases in the past few years when students have filed similar lawsuits against teachers and schools because of mandated assignments that also violated religious beliefs.  As far as I know, most of these cases have been won by the students and the courts have upheld the student’s religious right to refuse to do the specific assignment.

We can only hope and pray that Ozmun receives a similarly favorable ruling by the court and will be able to return to her teaching position.

Scripture says that homosexuality is a perverse sin that was punishable by death.  It also says that no one who practices homosexuality will inherit the kingdom of heaven.  As for the actions of Sebesta and Lamar University, they need to understand that forcing a Christian to witness such a profane representation of sexual debauchery would be like forcing a Muslim to take part in the slaughter of a pig, which to them is extremely unclean and nearly unforgiveable.  But I strongly suspect that that would never happen because people are afraid of Muslim retribution.  But when it comes to Christians, they don’t care how much they offend you in order to push their agenda and flaunt their depravity before your eyes.



  • Reagan64

    Try this the other way. Bring in a very articulate evangelistic play and have her boss attend.

    • philipsquires

      I bet you dollars to donuts that if  Ozmun was muslim the university would not have forced her to attend, or fired her.

      • Phaedra Dragon

         In that, you would be partially correct; but if she had been Muslim, she would not have been teaching to begin with.  Muslim women do get teaching jobs.  Their husbands won't let them.

  • Shermer60062

    Should an employee be forced to  comply with their employer's religious beliefs, even if it goes against their own? Apparently so, if you work for the Catholic Church and want birth control in your health caare plan.

    • philipsquires

      Shermer60062, are you saying that it is ok to force an employer to go against their religious beliefs, thus violating their first amendment rights? If women wanted a health plan that covers birth control and contraceptives, they can buy a private plan. They do not have to go through their employer.

      • Shermer60062

         Hi Philip. Will you be happy to pay for your own blood transfusions after you have a car accident because your employer is a Jehovahs Witness? Will you be happy to pay for your own STD treatment because your employer is an Evangelical Christian? Will you be happy to pay for everything because your employer is a Christian Scientist?

        When a church - any church - enters a money-making industry that employs and caters to people of every (or no) faith, shouldn't they be expected to play by the same rules as you would have to if it were your business?

        • philipsquires

          Shermer, the treatments you've mentioned are not against any christian beliefs, so your questions are really nonsense. Most Christian organizations, Catholics in particular, believe that contraceptives are a form of abortion, so they will not include them in health care plans. As to your last question, the answer is no, especially if that church run business is being forced to do something that goes against their religious beliefs. I am not saying that employees of  businesses that are run by Christian organizations, such as catholic hospitals, are to be denied access to things like contraceptives and birth control, they will still have access, I am saying that those businesses should not be forced to go against their religious beliefs.

        • Shermer60062

           Those treatments are against the beliefs of the three Christian sects that I mentioned, so it makes perfect sense. They are entitled to refuse that coverage to you under the terms of the exemption the Catholic Church has been given. Are you happy to forgo all treatments that clash with your employers religious beliefs, even if they are not forbidden by your beliefs?

    • DCGideon

       The professor will likely win because the employer is a school receiving assistance from the Federal government. Employers receiving receiving money from the government or participating in contract with the government are not allowed to show hostility towards religion. Private employers are also barred from doing the same under the anti-discrimination laws, though these do not provide the same degree of protection. Religious employers and interest group employers, however; have more discretion to require employees to conform to policies normally considered discriminatory because it touches on the core nature of their organizational goals. This means that the NAACP can legally discriminate against whites in their internal hiring, churches can legally require employees to agree to their statement of faith as a condition of employment, and the Democratic Party can legally require that its officers be registered Democrats.

      • Phaedra Dragon

         My company has an "Anti-discriminating" policy which does not violate the Constitution.  the only time we can discriminate against an employee, is when said employee, begins demanding separate facilities, or perks, or other options beyond which we do not give to the rest of our employee.
        To date, we have never had an employee file a suit against us on any of the grounds found in the guides for discrimination.
        Unfortunately, if you are Muslim, do not bother to apply.  We will throw your application away.

    • Eastkynana21

      When job hunting, benefits are part of what a person considers when deciding to apply for, or accep,t a job.  If you don't like the benefits package, DON'T TAKE THE JOB!  

  • Rchguns

    That is a very hard question." Right" if you believe that other lakefront property on the moon for sale.

    The answer  No! Last time I looked this is still United States of America and as Americans we do have some freedoms and choosing not to attend an objectionable and most likely cruder vulgar production is one of those rights.

  • jong

    Should she be forced absolutely not.   This is not education but, indoctrination of her.   I find that Miller and his perversions do not add anything to a education.   As for the head of her department I find her to be guilty of violations  of the Constitution on several levels.   She should have to go and be reeducated in both morals and ethics.     And just for fun do it the same way they did it in a Clock Work Orange.

  • gwedem5995

    I totally agree with Jong and couldn't have said it better myself

  • Nun

    She's FACULTY, not a student.  If it isn't specifically understood from the start that ALL faculty, or at least all Theater and Drama Department faculty, are REQUIRED to attend ALL student productions as part of the job, she should not even be pressured, let alone required to attend.  Only if they ask her why need she tell them why, and when she does she can tell them not only of her religious objections, but that the production is "in bad taste", and that should be enough.  "Previous plans" also should be enough for her to do something else that night.  Like take a nap or do her laundry.

    • Paintladyks

      Illness is certainly credible!  AND true.....the whole thing makes me sick!

  • patriciaann22

    No one should have to violate their conscience and participate in activities they firmly believe to be wrong.

  • Mathis1689

    Lamar U can rest assured that my son will NOT be attending there as long as this kind of anti-Christian discrimination and tolerance of homosexual perversion goes on there. And if the liberals/homosexuals/anti-Christians on't like it then too bad.

  • Scoutmad

    We lost a dance professor at the University of Wyoming a few years ago because he didn't want to participate in the musical production of "Cabaret."  They were dressing up the chorus line to look and act like prostitutes, and he was a Mormon family-man.  An complete shame because he was truly a decent fellow, talented, and absolutely the type of teacher you'd want for your kids.  If it can happen in Wyoming, it could happen anywhere, unfortunately.  

  • Sean murry.

    i would find it against my religious belief to attend something as sick a gay play.

    • Vazir Mukhtar

      You probably wouldn't be happy as a theatre faculty member at most universities, either.

      • Sean murry.

        I dont like the universies i went to work instead of college for your lib information punk .

        • Vazir Mukhtar

          I'm hardly a liberal. I do, however, believe that one should not enter a contract under false pretenses. Sometimes one's omissions or commissions come back to haunt, or bite one.

          I have worked in two large universities and would not think of concealing a material matter from my prospective or actual employer. I have had to attend many performances the content of which I did not like, though my audiences did. It goes with the job.

        • Michael

           Well then, Vladimir, you go right ahead and continue to sell your soul, I refuse.

        • Vazir Mukhtar

          I haven't sold my soul; I've tried to keep it. Honesty and honor are two principles I learned as a child. Do you remember the maxim "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it"? 

          The implication of your reply is that you would sell your soul to get the job the way Ms Osmun did. Now look at the situation she's in. Truth will out.

          No one can anticipate all the consequences that may result from his actions. Nonetheless, a teacher in a theatre program could have taken steps to prevent her unfortunate situation.

          In a Jesuit university one may study the theology of Eastern Orthodoxy in a course taught by a Jesuit, though the instructor (this is his function, not necessarily his rank) may disagree with some or many of the Orthodox doctrines. As I wrote earlier, it goes with the job.

  • Sean murry.

    i would find it against my religious belief to attend something as sick a gay play.

  • Leejo114

    We find in our country today many that are against our Christian religion.  I feel that if they want to come to our nation they should accept our way of life. If they don't like it they can move out of our country. We must remember that many of those groups came from the center of Europe back during the Crusades
    when the area was covered by Barbarians that were controlled by Kings who were the law of their holdings.

  • Leejo114

    Many higher education facilities  pride themselves in employing  educators of different status to give the students a different presentation on the same subject to allow them to understand many differences of that same subject. This has just confused the students because they only heard half of what was being presented, and were too lazy to investigate what they needed to do to arrive at the proper decision.  In the 1980's a group of students erected tents in the city square to protesting   that the poor weren't getting enough assistance. The cost of the group's facilities would have helped many needing assistance.  I'm sure that all of them believed in GLOBAL WARMING because Al Gore had written a poorly investigated book, that must have been a political ploy.

  • Candyman

    Isn't it amazing what people with no morals call "art"?

    • Phaedra Dragon

       I have heard people with morals, who call those kinds of shows, "Art"!

  • Phaedra Dragon

    There is no mention of the word "homosexuality, or Homosexuals", in the Bible.  Both terms were originally coined by the once famous Doctor Sigmund Freud, who was a Psychiatrist, working and teaching in Germany.  The Biblical term is:  "Men lying with men, as with women."  There is no mention of "Homosexuals", any where in the Bible, neither in the Old Testament, or the New Testament. 
    If you can find such a word in a Bible, then the Bible you have, is not the "Word of God"!

  • Steve

    This is not the complete list; it was taken from the 45 Communist goals that found their way down the halls of our great Capitol back in 1963.

    Communist Goals (1963) Congressional Record–Appendix, pp. A34-A35 January 10, 1963 Current Communist Goals EXTENSION OF REMARKS OF HON. A. S. HERLONG, JR. OF FLORIDA IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Thursday, January 10, 1963 .

    3. Develop the illusion that total disarmament [by] the United States would be a demonstration of moral strength.

    15. Capture one or both of the political parties in the United States.

    26. Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as “normal, natural, healthy.” 

    (Leviticus 20:13If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.)

    27. Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with “social” religion. Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity, which does not need a “religious crutch.”
    30. Discredit the American Founding Fathers. Present them as selfish aristocrats who had no concern for the “common man.”
    31. Belittle all forms of American culture and discourage the teaching of American history on the ground that it was only a minor part of the “big picture.” Give more emphasis to Russian history since the Communists took over.

    Luke 10:18And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
    In ancient Hebrew the word for lightning is barack, the word for heaven or the
    heights is bama and to connect the words either an “a” or an “o” is used.

    “I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.” – Barack Hussein Obama – Audacity of Hope

    2 Thessalonians 2:3 (King James Version)
    3Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

    Political Correctness a term first seen in Mao’s Little Red Book, a communist engendered abomination that is instituting censorship little by little.

    “If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”- George Washington

    Carl Marx, once wrote that, the goal of the Communists was to quote,. “enter into men’s minds and cast God down from his throne.”

    Matthew 12:31Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.


    In ancient Babylon their economy was based on usury.
    “If you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy, do not be like a moneylender; charge him no interest. Exodus 22:25
    Hath given forth upon usury, and hath taken increase: shall he then live? he shall not live: he hath done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon him. Ezekiel 18:13
    Usury is unlawful; expressly prohibited by GOD!
     Article 1 Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution clearly states that only the Congress can print and coin money! 

    The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 was slipped thru congress during the Christmas break with the majority of it’s members absent. 

    The Federal Reserve is self serving and privately owned in violation to the Constitution, charging interest on illegally printed money. Money printed from nothing!
    In America On June 4, 1963, a virtually unknown Presidential decree, Executive Order 11110, was signed with the authority to basically strip the Federal Reserve Bank of its power to loan money to the United States Federal Government at interest. With the stroke of a pen, President Kennedy declared that the privately owned Federal Reserve Bank would soon be out of business. Five months later A UNITED STATES PRESIDENT, PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY was MURDERED BY COMMUNIST! 

    Our own US Congress voted themselves a raise. (But vetoed a raise for those on Social Security) A member of Congress only have to be in Congress one time to receive a pension that is more than $15,000 per month. And most are now equal to being millionaires plus.  If some one in the military stays  in for 20 years (providing that they are not killed in combat before that) and gets out as an E-7, they may receive a pension of $2,000 per month, and the very people who placed them in harm's way receives a pension of $15,000 per month.

    “If you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy, do not be like a moneylender; charge him no interest. Exodus 22:25
    Hath given forth upon usury, and hath taken increase: shall he then live? he shall not live: he hath done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon him. Ezekiel 18:13
    Usury is unlawful; expressly prohibited by GOD!
    In ancient Babylon their priest sacrificed babies to their gods baal, and molech.  
    In America the communist under their socialist programs have sacrificed over 50 million American babies to their god satan!
    Leviticus 20:2-5
    2Again, thou shalt say to the children of Israel , Whosoever he be of the children of Israel , or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel , that giveth any of his seed unto Molech; he shall surely be put to death: the people of the land shall stone him with stones.
    3And I will set my face against that man, and will cut him off from among his people; because he hath given of his seed unto Molech, to defile my sanctuary, and to profane my holy name.
    4And if the people of the land do any ways hide their eyes from the man, when he giveth of his seed unto Molech, and kill him not:
    5Then I will set my face against that man, and against his family, and will cut him off, and all that go a whoring after him, to commit whoredom with Molech, from among their people.
    Luke 22:35-36 Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?” “Nothing,” they answered. 36 He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.
    Jeremiah 50:16Cut off the sower from Babylon, and him that handleth the SICKLE in the time of harvest: for fear of the oppressing sword they shall turn every one to his people, and they shall flee every one to his own land.
    Jeremiah 50:23How is the HAMMER OF THE WHOLE EARTH CUT ASUNDER AND BROKEN! how is Babylon become a desolation among the nations!
    Jeremiah 50:14 “ Put yourselves in array against Babylon all around, All you who bend the bow; Shoot at her, spare no arrows, For she has sinned against the LORD.

    All nations compassed me about: but in the name of the LORD will I destroy them. Psalm 118:10

    “The thing that separates the American Christian from every other person on earth is the fact that he would rather die on his feet, than live on his knees!”. George Washington

      2 Timothy 2:15   Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 

    Jeremiah 48: 10Cursed be he that doeth the work of the LORD deceitfully, and cursed be he that keepeth back his sword from blood.

    Revelation 18:21 And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying , Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down , and shall be found no more at all.



  • Vazir Mukhtar

    If it were made clear to Linda Osmun before she signed her contract with Lamar University that she was required to attend events presented on campus and presented by an organization affiliated with the university or by theatre students, I don't think she will win her suit.

    As a candidate for a position at Lamar University she ought to have familiarized herself with the sorts of productions and events presented by the theatre department, its students, etc. Now, her then potential employer could not by law ask her questions about her religion or a  number of other prohibited subjects, but if her religious beliefs are so important to her, she might have stated before accepting the position that she would (prefer not to) not teach materials that she found offensive or attend campus events that were an affront to her beliefs. 

    Had Ms Osmun "fessed up" after being offered the position (it's the courteous thing to do and in the case of someone 8 months pregnant, the candidate should raise and clarify the situation) and had the department so wanted to hire her that it was willing to make compromises that would encourage Ms Osmun to accept the position, things most likely would have turned out differently. 

    How would she behave if assigned a Shakespeare class, found "The Merchant of Venice" outrageously anti-Semitic for whatever reason and refused to include it in the syllabus for her course? What about "The Boys in the Band," "Angels in America," both of which deal with homosexuality? How would her department head/chairman reacted?

    Giacomo gives her the rank of professor. That strikes me as most peculiar. Typically those with the rank of professor are tenured senior faculty members. If she were indeed a professor, it strains credulity that she was unaware of the protections the law affords job applicants.

    Given the information in the article, I have little sympathy for her. 

  • Vazir Mukhtar

    The law prohibits an employer from asking questions about a candidate's religion and a number of other topics. If Ms Osmun's religious beliefs are so important, she might have raised the matter after she had been offered a position, just as a candidate 8 months pregnant who has been offered a job should address the issue of maternity leave and return to work.

    Had the department, the office of affirmative action, and the president been willing to make an accommodation because of Ms Osmun's religious beliefs, things would most likely not have come to such a pass.

    Giacomo gives her rank as professor. That rank is typically held by a tenured senior faculty member. If she were a professor, it's likely that she had served on a search committee and would have been familiar with the questions that are taboo. If she were unfamiliar with a candidate's rights, she ought to have been wise enough to find out what they are before having been invited to an interview. 

    Given the information in the story, I have little sympathy for her.

  • Paintladyks

    This is total indoctrination of all attendees.  Otherwise, why would offensive gestures be included?  Provocation is the intent.  Possibly, the antithesis of the intent could occur should attendees be so offended that they leave with a very negative view of homosexuality.  Bring 'em on!  Gay Pride parades have had the same effect.  The more people have this stuff pushed in their faces, the more they dislike it.

  • cord

    We fix this homosexual endorsement in this country and everything else will fall into place.  Seeing this for what it truly is remains the number one issue--above the economy or any other concern.  This article needs to go viral in support of professor Ozmun.

  • Dehowejr

    The answer raised by the subject question is NO111  But the professors should be required to attend and annually five hour credit class of conservative principals in order to remain employed!!!

  • Ken


    Michael Savage: How Obama fixed 2012 election ! 

  • Tom Townsend II

    Not a problem.  If this school or anybody else is so determined that a person whose religious convictions are offended by such a performance attend it anyway, then they and the preformer(s) should attend double the display or practice most offensive to them in return for this demand.  I.e., this Sebesta and Lamar University leadership might have to say, attend a two day in depth program, participating fully, on what is right and best about our Republic, the U.S. Constitution and each and every one of the constitutional amendments (especially freedom of speech, freedom of religion and the rights pertaining to the individual.  This "flaming gay" performer might attend a seminar and how to film combo amounting to two days attendance and full participation in all viewings, discussions and academic work regarding heterosexual relationships and related sexual nature for every day he performs and every day of homosexual related coursework he teaches.  Sounds fair doesn't it?  To abrogate the free will and convictions of another without first being willing to relinquish your own is totally a$$inLne and uncalled for. 

  • Paul427

    Usually, those who promote such "engagements" are themselves proactively pushing such behavior, regardless of their protests to such endorsements - They want the entire community to bathe in their sea of unrighteousness with them (to promote such behavior or because they know such behavior will eventually bring down the society) and are offended when they encounter those who harken to moral sensibilities.  But what does this say about Lamar University?  Unfortunately for them it says that, at least administratively, they are controlled by an unreasonable, undisciplined, and undiscerning nincompoop who has now solidified actions to demonstrate conclusively that this school insofar as he's concerned is irrelevent.  In fact, this is a part of the huge and defining problem that America faces today.  Such endorsement (even championing) of outrageous moral derelection must not be present EVER, lest we arm-wave in a new Sodom & Gomorrah.  We have to start governing society with a proper moral framework which is acceptable to dear God, lest we invite our termination as a society.  We are truly at a cross roads and we need to choose wisely.  This problem is rampant throughout the entire nation in most of the state educational systems in this country where homosexuals, anarchists, socialists, and communists have sought to control the thinking of the youth from kindergarten on.  Why else do you think the likes of Alinsky, Zinn, and whatever so-called "challenger" to the "establishment" have flocked to education as their life's work?  They seek to control from another vantage point - And the system we have in place allows these destroyers free reign in the system!

  • Scout

    It's favoring pure perversion if I read it correctly. What does a perverted homosexual play have to do with educating our children? If there was an informative seminar designed to improve the scholastic knowledge handed down to the students yes, there could be required attendance. But what their offering is trash to  morally straight people and it's wrong to force their attendance.   

  • Michael

    Yeah, well, they need to start being afraid of Christians just as much as those pagan mooslums. Enough is enough and I've had enough of it.

  • dizdamduster

    Despite her being in the performance arts, she should not be req'd to attend. The "arts" often go too far in nudity and wordings that are offensive to many people.  Since the show was to push gay issues, it was a person choice item. It wasn't a fund raiser for the dept. or even for the students. This is like the Maplethorpe fiasco.  Is it art or filth?

  • Dorothy

    A similar event reported in Evans The Third Reich in Power. Hitler loved the Wagner music and every year he opened the Nuremberg rally with a gala Wagner performance. In 1933 he gave 1000 free tickets to party officials. When he entered the box he found the theater almost empty. The officials preferred to go off and drink. Hitler sent patrols to drag them out of their drinking dens. The next year under strict orders to attend, The party officials fell asleep, waking only at the end. Pages 200-201. She could have slept through the performance just as they did.

  • Dorothy

    A similar event reported in Evans The Third Reich in Power. Hitler loved the Wagner music and every year he opened the Nuremberg rally with a gala Wagner performance. In 1933 he gave 1000 free tickets to party officials. When he entered the box he found the theater almost empty. The officials preferred to go off and drink. Hitler sent patrols to drag them out of their drinking dens. The next year under strict orders to attend, The party officials fell asleep, waking only at the end. Pages 200-201. She could have slept through the performance just as they did.