(LifeSiteNews) — A music professor at Western Michigan University (WMU) was let go from his job after turning away from his homosexual lifestyle and becoming Catholic. He is suing the university for violations against freedom of speech and religion as well as equal protection.
Professor Daniel Mattson’s contract was not renewed after 25 years of working at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He alleges that the university’s management became openly hostile toward him after his newly appointed colleague, an LGBT activist, started a campaign against the Catholic professor.
“In late September 2021, a recently-appointed music school faculty member and LGBTQ activist, Lauron Kehrer, discovered Mr. Mattson’s writings on his experience with homosexuality and his efforts to reject the ‘gay lifestyle’ by returning to his Catholic faith …,” the complaint filed by Mattson reads.
“Professor Kehrer started a campaign to restrict or cancel his planned events as a Guest Artist. She engaged students, other faculty members, and administrators in this effort, notably the Dean of the College of Fine Arts (Defendant Guyette) and his Special Assistant for Diversity and Inclusion, Kenlana Ferguson,” the complaint added.
Kehrer’s official biography on Western Michigan University’s website states that “her current book project, Queer Voices in Hip-Hop: Cultures, Communities, and Contemporary Performance (under contract with the University of Michigan Press, Tracking Pop series) examines the work of queer and trans artists of color in hip-hop,” and “her research focuses on the intersections of race, gender, and sexuality in American popular music, especially hip-hop.”
In 2017, Mattson published a book titled Why I Don’t Call Myself Gay: How I Reclaimed My Sexual Reality and Found Peace and in 2018 he wrote an article “Why Men Like Me Should Not Be Priests,” in which he defended the Catholic Church’s prohibition on ordaining men with “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” to the priesthood.
The Catholic music professor is suing Daniel Guyette, Dean of the College of Fine Arts at WMU, and Keith Kothman, President of WMU, for violating his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights regarding freedom of speech, free exercise of religion, and equal protection of the law.
Mattson has asserted that he never proselytized others at the university about his Catholic faith or his beliefs regarding homosexuality, a claim that Kothman confirmed in an email cited in Mattson’s lawsuit.
“Defendants targeted Plaintiff [Mattson] for adverse treatment because of his religion and religious beliefs in spite of the existence of clear written policies at WMU prohibiting religious discrimination,” the lawsuit reads.
Jonathan Turley, a legal analyst and law professor at George Washington University, pointed out that intolerance against views which contradict “woke” orthodoxy at universities is a widespread problem.
“The problem is that this contingency often seems to depend upon an adherence to a new orthodoxy on racial justice, police abuse, gender identification and other issues,” he wrote. “When a professor voices a dissenting view, universities will often defend free speech principles but then simply fail to renew a contract on unstated grounds.”
Turley cites a similar example of a professor at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia whose contract was not renewed after he had criticized the idea of slavery reparations.
“The fact is that, for the many faculty in the same position, their continued teaching is both legally and practically ‘contingent’ on satisfying the demands of the majority at universities,” he concluded.