Mormon university fires teacher for supporting LGBT rights on Facebook

19 July, 2017, 12:38 | Author: Pamela Mathis
  • Ruthie Robertson

Ruthie Robertson, an adjunct political science professor at Brigham Young University-Idaho, was sacked after she wrote a Facebook post supporting equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, and criticizing Mormon church policy that declares people in same-sex relationships apostates.

Before the Facebook post, she had been contracted to teach classes this fall, and she believed she would be contracted in the winter of 2018 as well. Members are expected to refrain from same-sex relationships, and the church in recent years has strengthened its position, even denying membership to most children of same-sex couples - and allowing the children, once they reach age 18, to join the church only if they condemn their parents' relationship.

Robertson graduated from BYU-Idaho in April 2016 with a degree in political science with an emphasis in foreign affairs and a minor in history. "Most Christian faiths label homosexuality as a sin based on archaic writings".

Robertson said the point of the post was to let LGBT friends and family know that she supports them - a statement she "couldn't take back", she said.

"If we're going to follow the Old Testament, and use it to justify a hateful stance, there are several other things we need to start condemning and punishing". I hope that this will some day apply to the stance on the LGBT community. "I will always and forever stand up for the equality of the LGBT community", she concluded. "Sexuality and gender are not binary, they are on a spectrum and that's how we were made", she wrote. Yet she was called to campus to talk about the post within hours of sharing it, she said.

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Robertson immediately attempted to mollify the university, posting that her views did not represent those of BYU-Idaho or the Mormon Church, but it proved fruitless.

The school's administrators never said outright that she could keep her job if she deleted the diatribe - but she felt it was strongly implied, KUTV reports.

Officials at BYU-Idaho, a private university owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said Tuesday they do not comment on personnel matters.

Robertson said her curriculum focused on teaching students four basic schools of thought about worldwide relations, and contemporary issues including human rights, globalization, climate change and ethnic conflict. Her Facebook post is private, and Robertson said she did not teach her beliefs in the classroom or allow students to follow her online.

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