Jesuits Lash Out Against Professor Who Defended Church’s Doctrine on Marriage

by Rodney Pelletier  •  •  March 8, 2018   

Dr. John McAdams is appealing to the Wisconsin Supreme Court after being fired from Marquette University

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MILWAUKEE ( - The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities is siding with Marquette University against a professor who lost his job for defending the Catholic teaching on marriage and outing a fellow teacher who shamed and drove a student out of her class.

Doctor John McAdams, previously a tenured professor at Jesuit Catholic Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was fired in 2016 after revealing Cheryl Abbate, a student teacher, harassed a student in her Theory of Ethics philosophy class after an in-class exchange with her on same-sex marriage, telling him "you don't have a right in this class to make homophobic comments."

The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities is siding with Marquette, alleging in its own friend of the court brief that McAdams violated the university's "Jesuit mission." It claims that, like other Jesuit universities, it is "a Catholic, Jesuit university dedicated to serving God by serving our students and contributing to the advancement of knowledge."

The Jesuit school's well-known for promoting progressive-liberal ideology in the name of Catholicism. Jesuit universities have supported abortion, LGBT ideology, same-sex marriage and paganism. In the past, Marquette has hosted a gay prom and promoted "gay Masses."

The brief slams McAdams for focusing "exclusively on his individual rights" and claims he "wants the Court to adopt his views of how this faith-based educational institution should carry out its mission."

It goes on to claim that Marquette's principals are "faith-based" and reflect the "mission and values of Jesuit education" and that Marquette "applied these Jesuit educational values to Dr. McAdams."

In May 2017, A judge ruled Marquette University was justified in firing him. His appeal was allowed to bypass the appellate court and is now being heard by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Doctor McAdams is entitled to express his opinions on matters of public concern in an extracurricular public forum, even if they involve what happens at the university.

The Thomas More Society filed a friend of the court brief on Wednesday on behalf of McAdams, along with the National Association of Scholars, the State of Wisconsin and the Law and University Professors and Academics.

The Thomas More Society comments, "Doctor McAdams is entitled to express his opinions on matters of public concern in an extracurricular public forum, even if they involve what happens at the university."

It goes on assert, "For the university to punish faculty members like McAdams for their speech on public issues amounts to an exercise in censorship which contradicts the university's commitment to academic freedom and violates the clear terms of Dr. McAdams' contract of employment with Marquette."

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It argues the university "does not have a contractual right to burden McAdams' First Amendment rights," that it "may not use its contract to retaliate against [him] for exercising his First Amendment rights" and that it "may not force [him] to forfeit his contractual right to exercise his First Amendment rights."

The brief argues that "orthodoxy" of belief cannot be imposed on a person. It uses the examples of a 1943 court case ruling that people cannot be forced to salute the flag of the United States and a 1967 case ruling that teachers cannot be forced to sign documents promising they aren't Communists. The latter ruling states "academic freedom" is "of transcendent value to all of us, not merely to the teachers concerned."

It goes further to maintain "McAdams argued that the incident illustrated the disturbing 'pall of orthodoxy' that oppresses higher education today," adding, "For those comments, Marquette stripped McAdams of tenure, the only professor it has so treated in its 135-year history."

Oral arguments are expected to be held on March 19.


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