In a brazen act of irrational discrimination against an administrator, simply because of his religious views expressed in a book that he had written, the University of Oklahoma Law School removed Brian McCall late last week from his post as Associate Dean of Academic Affairs.
McCall wrote a book in 2014 entitled To Build the City of God: Living as Catholics in a Secular Age, in which he took the position that women should ideally wear skirts, rather than pants, as an act of modesty; that husbands should be the head of household; and that he disagreed with “same-sex marriage.” McCall is also editor-in-chief of Catholic Family News, a magazine known for its support for the Traditional Latin Mass.
McCall will retain his teaching position (for now). Apparently, he did not express any of these views in the classroom, nor did he display any discriminatory viewpoint against anyone who did not follow these views. McCall’s personal religious views only came to light when a student journalist, Drew Hutchinson, wrote two articles about them in the college newspaper.
Hutchinson’s first article, published September 9, was entitled “Endowed OU law professor found connected to anti-Semitic publication.” Another article, published on September 30, was entitled “OU law professor, associate dean expresses homophobic, sexist views in 2014 book.” Hutchinson’s articles used the opinions of the radical Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) to support her assertions. SPLC considers the periodical Catholic Family News as part of a “hate” group. The SPLC is notorious for its advancement of the “LGBT” agenda, and its opposition to biblical Christianity.
SPLC’s own hatred is so intense that it has inspired at least two attempted murders. In 2013, an armed pro-homosexual activist tried to kill employees of the conservative Family Research Council, but was stopped by an armed security guard. The man confessed to police that he was inspired by the SPLC. Another attempted murder occurred last year, when a supporter of socialist Senator Bernie Sanders was inspired to kill Republican members of Congress by the SPLC, and did succeed in shooting Representative Steve Scalise (R-La.) The man did not like Scalise’s pro-life viewpoint.
Despite its sordid history, the student journalist chose to use the SPLC as her primary source in attacking McCall, using its unsubstantiated smears on Catholic Family News to smear McCall. McCall was born blind, but overcame this handicap to author several books, mainly on Catholic political thought and natural law jurisprudence. After receiving degrees from Yale, King’s College in London, and the University of Pennsylvania, he has taught at Notre Dame and has been an attorney in private practice before coming to OU.
It is likely that McCall’s views that women should not wear pants, for example, are not popular with most Catholics, nor even very many conservative evangelical Christians. But that is beside the point. They are McCall’s views — his personal religious views — and the action by the University of Oklahoma in forcing him out of an administrative position are clear examples of bigotry and discrimination against those views.
Law School Dean Joseph Harroz issued a statement defending the discriminatory action against McCall, a statement that read almost like something out of George Orwell.
Harroz admitted that an “independent review has uncovered no evidence of workplace harassment or discrimination.” Yet, while no student had ever expressed any concern that McCall had discriminated against them, Harroz explained that the McCall’s resignation from his administrative post was necessary “because of the controversy about his personal statements.”
Several former and current students expressed outrage at McCall’s ouster. Breanna Kay, who was a student in the paralegal program, defended McCall on Facebook, saying he was “never anything but kind, fair, and extraordinarily helpful to me as a student.” Kay added, “Do I agree with the sociological, theological, or political views of Dr. McCall? Certainly not.” Kay noted that most of the program was made up of women, “every one of us [who] wore pants.”
“I was never looked down upon because I was a woman. He did everything in his power to prepare me to be a career woman.”
Multiple comments by other students were similar.
Jennie Mook, a first-year law student, told LifeSite that McCall had never conveyed the views in question during his classes. “OU Law prides ourselves on diversity … however, religious inclusivity is part of diversity and as long as McCall isn’t discriminating against students, his personal beliefs are his own.”
It is sad that a first-year law student understands this concept better than the dean of the law school at OU. In stark contrast, Dean Harroz, speaking in words that sound like Orwell’s 1984, said his law students receive an “educational experience” that “encourages thoughtful conversation and debate.” How can removing someone for personal religious views encourage debate? “Attracting students from diverse backgrounds ensures that all points of view will be heard in our classrooms,” Harroz added, but his actions say otherwise. His action in demoting McCall is more likely to ensure that certain views are not heard. To paraphrase Orwell from his other classic, Animal Farm, “All viewpoints are equal, but liberal secular views are more equal than conservative Christian views.”
Harroz’s view of liberty seems to be that a person has the liberty to hold any view, as long as it's a view he approves of.
For a Catholic school to exclude Baptist views, or the other way around, or for a private school to exclude the views of either one, is one thing. They are private. In contrast, OU is a public institution, supported by the taxpayers of the state. Why should tax dollars be used to discriminate against an unpopular religious viewpoint, especially one that is not even expressed on the campus itself?
A 1993 Supreme Court decision held that an individual’s religious viewpoint “is not sufficient to establish a Bona Fide Occupational Qualification.” In Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, discrimination on the basis of religion is forbidden, and in Title VI of the same act, government agencies receiving federal funds (such as OU) cannot discriminate against someone simply because of their religion.
One would think that a law school dean would understand the importance of religious liberty. But at the OU Law School, the new standard seems to be “Those with unpopular religious views need not apply.”