CONNECT MIDMICHIGAN — Some say a Michigan anti-bullying bill won't work. What do you think?

“Michigan lawmakers are looking at new policies aimed at stopping school bullying, but some say it’s ineffective.”

The reason this particular bill passed unanimously is because it simply protects all students from all bullying for all reasons. It does not include the language of all past years’ bullying bills that segregated students into special “protected class” categories including homosexual behavior or cross-dressing, or “thought crime” language that attempted to define bullying based on what a bully might have been thinking about the personal characteristics of the victim. Because it is an all-inclusive bill that protects all students equally, the American Family Association of Michigan — widely credited (or blamed) for blocking all past bills — does not oppose it.

All bullying legislation of the last five years tried to define bullying based on the personal characteristics of the victim. Some bills “enumerated” a long list of special “protected class” categories including homosexual behavior and cross-dressing, others with just a general reference to “actual or perceived characteristics” (minus the “enumerated” list). Consistent with the position advocated by both AFA-Michigan and Bully Police USA, the bill passed today by the committee included neither, which is why it passed unanimously. Now that Democrats no longer control one house and thus cannot insist on inserting the “characteristics” language which both AFA-Michigan and Bully Police USA oppose, this bill may actually be enacted.

http://www.connectmidmichigan.com/news/story.aspx?id=613296
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MICHIGAN MESSENGER — Snyder calls for anti-bullying legislation in education address

‎”‘If (Gov. Snyder) intended by his comments to actually endorse the state Dept. of Education’s current model policy, he is as misguided in promoting homosexual activists’ segregation language as found in that policy as were the Democrats who for five years blocked passage of any anti-bullying legislation that didn’t force that language on every school district in the state,’ said (AFA-Michigan President Gary) Glenn.”

‎”The state legislature has been struggling to approve an anti-bullying bill for a decade. Advocates for the legislation have been clear that the law should mandate enumeration — or a clearly defined list of protected groups — while Gary Glenn and the American Family Association of Michigan have opposed enumeration, calling it part of a ‘homosexual agenda’ because it would list sexual orientation and gender identity and expression as protected classes.”

http://michiganmessenger.com/48650/snyder-calls-for-anti-bullying-legislation-in-education-address

PLEASE call or write Gov. Rick Snyder today and tell him that any state bullying law should equally protect all students from all bullying for all reasons, not segregate students into special “protected class” categories based on homosexual behavior or cross-dressing.

CALL 517-373-3400
E-MAIL: rick.snyder@michigan.gov
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MIRS — AFAM Aims At Kahn

The American Family Association of Michigan AFAM today went after Sen. Roger KAHN R-Saginaw for not backing a measure aimed at protecting counseling students who don’t want to help gay and lesbian students.

Sen. Mark Jansen (R-Gaines Twp.) won an amendment requiring universities to report on efforts to accommodate the religious beliefs of students in accredited counseling programs. This is a response to the case of Eastern Michigan University graduate student Julea Ward, who was dismissed from EMU’s counseling program for refusing to counsel a gay patient.

Kahn was the lone Republican to vote no.

“Before the full Senate votes next week, we hope families in Saginaw County will join us in urging Sen. Kahn to stand with other Republicans, including Attorney General (Bill) Schuette, in acting to eliminate religious discrimination against students who refuse to compromise their faith and right of conscience,” said AFAM head Gary Glenn.

Sen. Kahn’s contact information:
Phone: 517-373-1760
E-mail: senrkahn@senate.michigan.gov

http://www.mirsnews.com/
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AG – Schuette Defends Constitutionally-Protected Religious Freedoms on Campus

Over Sen. Roger Kahn’s objection, Senate Appropriations Committee acts to stop religious discrimination at Michigan state universities

AFA-Michigan honored Julea Ward at our 2009 banquet for refusing to capitulate to Eastern Michigan University’s demand that she retract her statement of faith.

Read the infuriating transcript of EMU’s kangaroo court proceedings in which academic elites belittled Julea’s faith, mocked her, lectured her on what (they thought) she should believe, and finally expelled her for standing her ground: http://blog.mlive.com/annarbornews_impact/2009/04/EMUhearing_transcript.pdf

The state Senate Appropriations Committee in Lansing Thursday inserted into the higher education budget a provision supported by the American Family Association of Michigan requiring state colleges and universities that offer counseling degrees to report to lawmakers what steps they are taking to ensure the religious conscience rights of students of faith. The House higher ed subcommittee has already approved the same language.

The motion was made by Senator Mark Jansen, R-Grand Rapids, and according to a legislator who watched the proceedings, it passed on a 10 to 6 party line vote with one exception. All Republicans but one voted in favor of the language.

Sen. Roger Kahn, R-Saginaw, was the lone Republican to join all committee Democrats in voting against protecting Michigan college and university students from religious discrimination.

The language is lawmakers’ response to the case of Eastern Michigan University graduate student Julea Ward, an African-American Christian with a 4.3 GPA in the school’s counseling degree program, who was expelled two years ago when she refused to counsel a student who asked for advice on how to improve his homosexual relationship. Ward said being forced to encourage such a relationship would violate her sincerely held religious convictions.

She filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against EMU alleging religious discrimination, which is currently before the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Attorney General Bill Schuette has filed an amicus brief with the court supporting Ward’s lawsuit.

AFA-Michigan President Gary Glenn, Midland, commented: “Before the full Senate votes next week, we hope families in Gratiot and Saginaw County will join us in urging Sen. Kahn to stand with Attorney General Schuette and other Republicans in acting to eliminate religious discrimination on campus against students who refuse to compromise their faith and right of conscience.”

Contact Sen. Roger Kahn at senrkahn@senate.michigan.gov or by phone at 517-373-1760.
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HERITAGE FOUNDATION — From Culture Wars to Conscience Wars: Emerging Threats to Conscience

“People who support marriage as one man and one woman might face potential civil liability under nondiscrimination laws that prohibit private discrimination based on sexual orientation, marital status, or gender. …People who support traditional understandings of sexual morality also face discrimination in equal access to government benefits and programs.”

The Heritage Foundation documents what even left-wing media outlets such as National Public Radio and the Washington Post have reported: homosexual activists’ political agenda poses one of the most serious threats to religious freedom in America today.

Heritage cites the case of Julea Ward, an African-American Christian expelled by Eastern Michigan University because she refused to compromise her religious convictions:

“Related conflicts are likely to arise in education and professional situations. For example, a student obtaining professional training in a counseling program at a public university in Michigan was expelled, she alleges, because she was not willing to affirm homosexual behavior as morally acceptable.”

http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2011/04/From-Culture-Wars-to-Conscience-Wars-Emerging-Threats-to-Conscience?query=From+Culture+Wars+to+Conscience+Wars%3A+Emerging+Threats+to+Conscience
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MLIVE — Jackson city, county leaders hear support, scorn for decision to hire human resources director who said gays are not civil rights victims

“The American Family Association of Michigan also reached out to its members, asking them to voice support for Dixon and local leaders. In a message to members, AFA Michigan wrote that it saluted Dixon’s ‘principled stand for family, faith and freedom’ and applauded city and county leaders for respecting her religious free speech rights.”

Thanks if you’re one of AFA-Michigan’s supporters who responded to our call to action in support of Crystal Dixon, as reported in this story.

http://www.mlive.com/news/jackson/index.ssf/2011/04/city_county_leaders_hear_suppo.html
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MLIVE — Jackson county, city hire joint human resources director, who had been fired by University of Toledo

‎”Dixon…was fired at the University of Toledo after writing a letter about her position on gay rights to the Toledo Free Press. She argued that (homosexuals) are not civil rights victims because they have the ability to choose a homosexual lifestyle. ‘I cannot wake up tomorrow and not be a Black woman,’ she wrote. ‘I am genetically and biologically a Black woman and very pleased to be so as my Creator intended.'”

AFA-Michigan welcomes Crystal Dixon to Michigan, congratulates her on her new job, and salutes her principled stand for family, faith, and freedom! Her firing by the University of Toledo for having dared publicly oppose homosexual activists’ political agenda is proof that so-called “gay rights” laws and policies are themselves blatantly discriminatory.

Crystal is already coming under fire by homosexual activists in Michigan. Please write a message to the editor of the Jackson newspaper and to Jackson Mayor Karen Dunigan and County Commission Chairman James Shotwell applauding their hiring the best-qualified applicant and respecting her religious free speech rights:

editor@citpat.com; kdunigan@cityofjackson.org; JShotwel@co.jackson.mi.us

http://www.mlive.com/news/jackson/index.ssf/2011/03/jackson_county_city_hire_joint.html
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RECORD-EAGLE — Bullying policy subject of FOIA request

‎”The request stems in part from recent school board discussion of (amending) the district’s bullying policy…(to) include specific protection on the basis of sexual orientation… The debate also sparked numerous public comments from both sides of the issue at a recent school board meeting and a letter in opposition from American Family Association of Michigan President Gary Glenn.”

The Record-Eagle failed to report that Bully Police USA, one of the nation’s leading anti-bullying organizations, also opposes bullying policies that segregate students into special “protected class” categories. We’ve challenged the reporter who wrote this article to report the rest of the story.

http://record-eagle.com/local/x10256752/Bullying-policy-subject-of-FOIA-request
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MICHIGAN MESSENGER — Michigan activists trying to push anti-bullying legislation

‎”Michigan advocates are continuing their drive to get the state legislature to pass an anti-bullying bill…to specifically list, or enumerate, protected classes (such as ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’). In Michigan, the legislature’s conservatives, fueled by activism by Gary Glenn, president of the American Family Association of Michigan, have long opposed legislation including enumeration.”

At our April 7th banquet in Troy, we honored former Senate Majority Floor Leader Alan Cropsey, a long-time champion of traditional family values, including for singlehandedly blocking homosexual activists’ Trojan Horse bullying bill in 2008.

What the Messenger article fails to report:

Kevin Epling’s position has for years been at odds with the very anti-bullying organization he purportedly represents.

Bully Police USA agrees with AFA-Michigan’s opposition to segregating students into special “protected class” categories or otherwise trying to define bullying based on the bully’s thoughts (“animus”) or a bullying victim’s personal characteristics.

Bay Windows, a homosexual advocacy newspaper in Boston, reports that Bully Police USA is “one of the key opponents of enumeration.” The same Bay Windows article reports that “only eight of the 44 states that have laws to address bullying enumerate — or specifically identify — bullying based on sexual orientation and gender identity as prohibited conduct.” (N.J.’s new law, and Arkansas’ revision, would make it only ten out of 44.)

Bully Police USA founder and executive director Brenda High, who founded the group after she lost her son Jared to a bullying-related suicide in 1998, writes on the group’s website:

“There should not be any major emphasis on defining victims. This addition into an anti bullying law will cause several problems for lawmakers… The way a bully’s target or victim acts or physically looks is not the victim’s problem but the bully’s own psychological problem. The bully is the root of the problem. Defining victims will slow the process of lawmaking, dividing political parties who will argue over which victims get special rights over other victims. All children deserve the “special right” not to be bullied. ALL children who are bullied need to be protected.”

http://www.bullypolice.org/grade.html

Brenda High nails it. The reason Michigan does not have a bullying law is precisely because of what she predicts: the demands by Mr. Epling and homosexual activist groups to define bullying based on the personal characteristics of the victim have “slow(ed) the process of lawmaking, dividing political parties who will argue over which victims get special rights over other victims.”

Now that the Legislature and governor’s office are held by elected officials who are not beholden to homosexual activists, the chances of finally enacting an anti-bullying bill that simply protects all students from all bullying for all reasons have significantly increased, without segregating students or defining bullying based on what the bully might have been thinking or the victim’s personal or behavioral characteristics. As we’ve said throughout discussion of this issue, AFA-Michigan will not oppose such an all-inclusive anti-bullying law.

Question is, will Epling and homosexual activist groups celebrate such a law as a victory for student safety, or bemoan it as a defeat for the Trojan Horse “sexual orientation” agenda that has blocked adoption of an anti-bullying law for the last seven years?

http://michiganmessenger.com/47746/michigan-activists-trying-to-push-anti-bullying-legislation

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DETROIT FREE PRESS — Schuette: EMU's student's religious beliefs against homosexuality violated

Please e-mail Attorney General Bill Schuette and thank him for his stand against discriminatory “sexual orientation” policies by which Michigan universities persecute and violate the civil and religious free speech rights of Christian students.

E-mail the Attorney General: miag@michigan.gov

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“Eastern Michigan University discriminated against former student Julea Ward when it dismissed her from its counseling program after she said her Christian beliefs prohibited her from counseling a gay client, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said in a court filing. …Ward sued the university after it dismissed her from its graduate counseling program in 2009 after she refused to work on a gay client’s relationship issues in a clinical program. She said she believes homosexuality is immoral and being gay or lesbian is a choice and thus she could not in good conscience counsel the client.

…’There is a striking difference between EMU’s written standards and EMU’s application of those rules to Julea Ward,’ the brief by Schuette’s office said. ‘Indeed, the evidence suggests that Ward was punished and ultimately dismissed from the program solely for her attempt to exercise disfavored religious beliefs, not for a violation of the code. The attorney general’s brief, filed Friday, also suggests political correctness was at work, suggesting ‘that EMU ‘weeded out’ Ward solely because of her religious views to ensure that only candidates with the ‘right’ beliefs are admitted to the counseling profession.'”

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DETROIT FREE PRESS
Detroit, Michigan
March 15, 2011

Attorney General Bill Schuette: EMU’s student’s
religious beliefs against homosexuality violated

by David Jesse / Detroit Free Press Higher Education Writer

LANSING, Mi. — Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has waded into a closely watched federal appeals case, siding with an Eastern Michigan University student who claims her dismissal from the university for refusing to counsel gay and lesbian patients violated her religious belief against homosexuality.

Schuette is the latest entrant in a case that has drawn conservative and religious groups, public universities and civil liberties organizations.

“This case really is at the intersection of a lot of values,” said Christopher Lund, an assistant law professor at Wayne State University who specializes in religious liberty issues.

“There’s gay rights versus religious liberty and the rights of individuals versus the rights of the universities to set curriculum. Whenever all those cross, you’ve got a lot of people and organizations that are interested.”

The suit also shows Schuette’s willingness to weigh in on social issues.

“This case signals he will act on questions of constitutionality, such as the case of President Obama’s health care law,” said AG spokesman John Sellek. “This case is also a constitutional issue, where no one should lose their religious freedoms as they work to get an education.”

A case study of religious versus university rights
Eastern Michigan University discriminated against former student Julea Ward when it dismissed her from its counseling program after she said her Christian beliefs prohibited her from counseling a gay client, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said in a court filing.

That’s not the case at all, EMU said. Ward was dismissed because her refusal to counsel the patient didn’t follow the assigned curriculum and professional ethics guidelines set up the American Counseling Association, the school said.

EMU’s position has been upheld by a federal judge. Now Ward, with briefs of support from Schuette and a number of religious rights organizations, has appealed that ruling. Oral arguments are expected to begin later this year. It’s a case that’s being closely watched, not only by religious organizations, but by other universities. Nine Michigan public universities have filed a brief supporting EMU, saying the case is about who controls curriculum — the university or the students.

“Fundamentally, this case raises the question of whether universities have the freedom to determine their own curricula or whether they must fashion their curricular requirements around the religious, political, social, philosophical and ideological beliefs and expressions of each and every students,” said the brief submitted by the University of Michigan, Central Michigan, Grand Valley State, Michigan State, and five other schools.

It was written by Debra Kowich of U-M’s general counsel office, who wrote that a ruling for Ward “could require universities to dilute their curricular requirements to the point that they would not possibly offend any student of any faith” or political view.

But that’s not how Ward sees it. She and her attorneys at the Alliance Defense Fund say the case is about religious discrimination.

Ward sued the university after it dismissed her from its graduate counseling program in 2009 after she refused to work on a gay client’s relationship issues in a clinical program. She said she believes homosexuality is immoral and being gay or lesbian is a choice and thus she could not in good conscience counsel the client.

EMU said it dismissed her because she didn’t follow a code of ethics that requires counselors to set aside their own personal beliefs in order to work with clients.

Judge George Steeh of the U.S. District Court in Detroit ruled for EMU last July, saying the school was within its rights to dismiss Ward for failing to follow its curriculum. The judge wrote that Ward “has distorted the facts in this case to support her position that defendants dismissed her due to her religious beliefs.”

Ward and her attorneys, a legal group that works to uphold the rights of religious college students and faculty, have asked the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals to step in. They did not return calls seeking comment on Monday.

But in their legal brief for Ward, the lawyers wrote that “EMU violated Ms. Ward’s right to the free exercise of religion by acting as arbiters of her religious beliefs.”

Schuette agrees with them.

“There is a striking difference between EMU’s written standards and EMU’s application of those rules to Julea Ward,” the brief by Schuette’s office said. “Indeed, the evidence suggests that Ward was punished and ultimately dismissed from the program solely for her attempt to exercise disfavored religious beliefs, not for a violation of the code.

The attorney general’s brief, filed Friday, also suggests political correctness was at work, suggesting “that EMU ‘weeded out’ Ward solely because of her religious views to ensure that only candidates with the ‘right’ beliefs are admitted to the counseling profession.”

A number of gay rights groups have weighed in as well, including a brief filed jointly by the Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays; Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, Affirmations and the Ruth Ellis Center in support of EMU, which says counselors, especially school counselors (which Ward wanted to be), must be supportive of students, whatever their own views.

“A school counselor who is unwilling to assist such students, or worse, a counselor who expresses disapproval of a student’s status as LGBT — is both incapable of doing her job and likely to cause significant harm,” the groups’ brief said.

EMU says the case is about its curriculum, and nothing else. “This case has never been about religion or religious discrimination,” EMU spokesman Walter Kraft said in a statement last week. “It is not about homosexuality or sexual orientation. This case is about what is in the best interest of a client who is in need of counseling, and following the curricular requirements of our highly respected and nationally accredited counseling program.”

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Voices in the debate over
EMU student’s dismissal

Julea Ward’s suit against Eastern Michigan University
has attracted many groups interested in the outcome.

Filed legal briefs supporting Ward

• National Association of Scholars
• The American Center for Law and Justice
• Justice and Freedom Fund
• The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty
• Foundation for Moral Law
• Michigan attorney general

Filed legal briefs supporting EMU

• American Counseling Association
• ACLU, ACLU of Michigan
• Affirmations; Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network; Parents, Families, Friends of Lesbians and Gays; Ruth Ellis Center.
• Central Michigan, Grand Valley State, Michigan State, Northern Michigan, Oakland, Saginaw Valley, Wayne State, and Western Michigan universities, University of Michigan
• Americans United for Separation of Church and State

Related Links
PDF: ACA Code of Ethics http://bit.ly/gqhF6a
PDF: Attorney General brief http://bit.ly/hBJWuV
PDF: Universities’ brief http://bit.ly/fMpo6q

http://www.freep.com/article/201103150300/NEWS06/103150369