Professor Sues University over Required Preferred Pronouns
Dr. Nicholas Meriwether, a philosophy professor at Shawnee State University, has filed a lawsuit against his school because it requires faculty to address students by the students’ “preferred pronoun.” As announced by the ADF, which is representing Meriwether:
In January, during a political philosophy class he was teaching, Meriwether responded to a male student’s question by saying, “Yes, sir.” Meriwether responded in this fashion because he refers to all his students as “sir” or “ma’am” or by a title (Mr. or Miss, for example) followed by their last name to foster an atmosphere of seriousness and mutual respect.
The student’s sensibilities were so offended he shouted vulgarities at the professor and threatened to get him fired.
Ultimately, the school accused him of creating a “hostile” environment and placed a warning in his file — a warning that he must call the students by their chosen pronouns.
Meriwether cannot do so, because he said that would violate his religious beliefs:
Dr. Meriwether also believes he cannot affirm as true ideas and concepts that are not true, as this would violate Biblical injunctions against dishonesty and lying.
However, he did offer to call the students by their names — a compromise the school rejected.
The rights of the students are not infringed by his use of their names (or, quite frankly, terms addressing their true gender). By contrast, Dr. Meriwether’s rights are infringed when the university requires him to act contrary to his religious faith.
The use of words is not neutral, and Dr. Meriwether is absolutely within his rights to refuse to support another’s truth claims.
In an interesting coincidence of timing, Dr. Al Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, recently made this same point:
Christians thinking about this moral confusion must first stop at the vocabulary…Even adopting the vocabulary, therefore, becomes an enormous problem because the vocabulary assumes that you accept the ideology of the transgender revolutionaries–that gender fluidity exists and that the gender assigned at one’s birth may or may not be factual.
That transgender ideology is, of course, antithetical to the Christian faith. Referring to the claim that gender is unrelated to biology, Dr. Mohler said
Christians operating from a biblical worldview understand [this] as manifest nonsense. The morally important distinction between male and female is essential. Indeed, the biblical worldview clearly grounds the distinction as a vital component for true human flourishing.
While there have been several, this has been one of the unanswered questions regarding the integration of transgenders in the US military. Would a US service member be required to address another troops by their “preferred” pronoun — even if to do so would have the effect of supporting their immoral truth claim?
Despite the importance of this point to the vast majority of the US military who claim a religious faith, it was never addressed in the rapid decision to allow transgenders to serve in the military as whatever gender they felt like declaring.
However, such a policy consideration may have been irrelevant. After all, religious considerations were explicitly considered — and protected — within the original guidance for allowing homosexuals to serve in the military. Yet, as everyone now knows, military Christians continue to be accused, investigated, and punished for serving in precisely the way the military told them to in a post-DADT military — consistent with their faith and military policy. See Modder, Bohannon, and Squires for just the most recent examples.
The current Commander in Chief has attempted to reverse the transgender integration led by then-President Obama. The reversed policy has currently stopped in the courts, though even military homosexual groups are concerned about a potential Supreme Court ruling. It remains to be seen how this latest social experiment will play out on the US military — and the Christians who serve in it.