Over the last decade, I’ve seen and heard of a growing number of instances where public schools and colleges have intentionally discriminated against conservative Christian students and teachers. When I worked for Answers in Genesis, I heard from a high school science teacher that was denied a raise and reassigned to teaching math all because he had a Bible setting on his desk. He never opened it in class nor did he ever teach anything about creation or what the Bible says.
Another teacher I heard from told me that he was reprimanded and warned that his job was in jeopardy because he answered a question from a student in his class. The student asked him if evolution could be proven and he said not exactly and that it all depended on how a person interprets the facts. He told his students that it’s important in science to question everything as that is how people learn. The next day he was called into the office, given the reprimand and warning.
Some public school districts have gone so far as to include anti-Christian, anti-Caucasian and anti-male discrimination in their contracts. In the Agreement between The Board of Education of Ferndale Public Schools and The Ferndale Education Association, Article 10—Promotions & Vacancies, Section 10.3 it states:
“Any teacher may apply for a vacancy in a position considered to be a ‘Promotion” as defined in Section 2 above. In filling a bargaining unit position vacancy, the Board shall consider the professional backgrounds and attainments of all applications along with other relevant facts. Should there be two (2) or more of these applicants with equal qualifications for the position and one (1) or more of these applicants with equal qualifications is a current employee, the current employee with the greatest seniority shall be assigned. Special consideration shall be given to women and/or minority defined as: Native American, Asian American, Latino, African American and those of the non-Christian faith. However, in all appointments to vacant positions, the Board’s decision shall be final.” [Emphasis mine]
Yet in Article 2—Recognition of the same contract, Section 2.6 states:
“There shall be no discrimination by the F.E.A. or the Board toward any employee(s) because of race, creed, religion, color, sex, sexual preference, age, disability or other legally protected classification, marital status or number of dependents; except where age, sex, or physical requirements constitute a bona fide occupational qualification necessary for proper and efficient administration. All protected classes will be equally considered under the provision of this Agreement and in accordance therewith.” [Emphasis mine]
So which is it? They will not be discriminated against for their religion, but non-Christians will be given special consideration along with minorities over Christians, especially white males? Isn’t giving special consideration to women, minorities and non-Christians discriminatory against the very classes of people that they say they will not discriminate against?
Richard Thompson, President of the Thomas More Law Center in Ann Arbor commented about the Ferndale contract, saying:
“This just strikes me as so un-American that they can put in open language for people to see that they are going to be discriminating against Christians. Why would they be discriminating against Christians? They are not supposed to be discriminating against people for their religious beliefs. It’s outrageous. And I believe it’s unconstitutional.”
“Now, they are going to ask people, ‘Are you a Christian?’ Are people going to hide their faith so they can get a promotion? There is a subtle persecution [here] of Christians.”
After the news of the discriminatory language of their contract became a major news item, especially locally, Shelley Yorke Rose, a spokeswoman for the district announced:
“The district appreciates your bringing this antiquated language to our attention. The timing is perfect since Ferndale Public Schools just completed bargaining and, with the advice of our legal counsel and approval from the district EA (union) representative, this language will be deleted from new contracts. Unfortunately, there are no employees in the district who have been here long enough to explain the origins of the language, which we estimate to have been inserted between 1976-79.”
“Please note that the district does not discriminate in hiring on the basis of religion or other related issues.”
So they have been discriminating against Christians and white males for the past 35-38 years? I wonder how many Christians or white males were passed over to fill a vacancy or get a promotion because a female, minority or non-Christian was given special consideration? If I were one of those men that were passed over, I would do a little research to see who got the position you applied for and if they fit any of the special consideration categories. If so, I would file a lawsuit against the school district for discrimination based on race, sex and religion. I would also find out how many other school districts have similar discriminatory wording in their union contracts?