SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (ChurchMilitant.com) - Missouri State University has just paid out $25,000 to a former student after he was booted from a master's degree program for standing by his Christian beliefs.
Andrew Cash, a counselling program graduate student, filed a lawsuit April 2016 and was awarded the money late last month.
Cash was removed from the Missouri State University program by the program's advisor in 2011 after Cash refused to offer marital counselling to homosexual couples.
Initially, Cash had received approval from the internship advisor to complete his required hours with Springfield Marriage and Family Institute (SMFI), a Christian counselling organization. After spending time with SMFI, Cash conducted a class presentation on Christian-based counselling with W.K. Boyce, executive director of SMFI.
According to the lawsuit, "A student asked Boyce if SMFI counsels gay couples. Boyce said that he would counsel gay persons as individuals but not as couples because of his religious beliefs."
Shortly after the class presentation, Cash was questioned by Missouri State counselling program administration on his views of homosexuals. The lawsuit reveals a program advisor told Cash he had to discontinue his internship at SMFI because of "ethical concerns."
An advisory board then required Cash to undergo a remediation plan, which required him to retake two classes and to renounce his 51 internship hours spent with SMFI. Despite appealing the decision by the advisory board in November 2014, Cash was removed from the program permanently.
The lawsuit adds that Cash was "targeted and punished for expressing his Christian worldview."
When the St. Thomas More Society took the case last year, a spokesman said, "We see Missouri State University has betrayed long-held values of academic freedom by denying educational opportunity to Mr. Cash on the basis of his deeply held religious beliefs. We are working to correct the denial of freedom of expression and freedom of religion he experienced at MSU."
University spokeswoman Suzanne Shaw says the settlement prevents Cash from seeking admission or employment at Missouri State, and the university did not admit liability.
While Cash admits he would counsel homosexual men individually, he maintained he would not counsel homosexual couples.
In December 2016, Malta was the first European country to ban gay conversion therapy. Maltese parliament's law will punish therapists with up to five months in jail and a $5,000 fine for helping those who seek relief from same-sex attraction in such therapy.
In October of the same year, Dr. Lawrence Mayer and Dr. Paul McHugh of Johns Hopkins University found evidence that frustrates the narrative that non-heterosexual activity is purely biological. The report states that based on 11 independent studies "biological factors cannot provide a complete explanation" of homosexual behavior.
The report also discovered that research reveals "lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals had a 2.47 times higher lifetime risk for suicide attempts than heterosexuals." The same report called for further research about the psychological origins of LGBT behavior.