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20 years

o the outsider, it was initially unclear why Timothy R. Mertes decided to sign up for English instructor Elyse Crystall's Literature & Cultural Diversity class at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Although he was required to take the seminar, he learned in February of this year that it was a mistake with ramifications that would be felt beyond the initial conflict with Ms. Crystall. Mertes was a born again Christian attending a Bible Belt university that—like all secular colleges and universities in the United States—is becoming increasingly anti-Christian.

Crystall is an English teacher with a Ph.D who was hired in July, 2000 as an untenured track instructor at UNC-Chapel Hill. On February 5, 2004 Crystall's class discussed one author's view that America grants Whites, males, and heterosexuals in general, privileges that Blacks, women, and homosexuals do not enjoy in our society. The discussion quickly morphed into questioning whether heterosexual men felt threatened by homosexuals, with the conclusion being in the affirmative.

It was at that point that Mertes, who had remained silent through most of the discussion, assured Crystall that he did not feel threatened by homosexuals. If anything, he said, he found their lifestyle disgusting; adding that, as a Christian, he would not want to have to explain to his 6-year old why two men were kissing at a ball game. Mertes citied an incident that involved a male friend from Florida who told him of receiving a "sickening love letter" from a homosexual acquaintance who apparently had a "yen" for him.

The class apparently ended before the politically correct students—and Crystall—could comment on Mertes' remarks. However, according an email Crystall sent to all 33 students in that class, some students were appalled at what they termed as a form of "psychological terrorism"—an attempt by heterosexuals to force homosexuals and lesbians back into the closet.

One of those who felt Mertes' comment was a psychological attack on him was Will Hall, a practicing homosexual (shown above, by arrow). Even though Hall admitted that Mertes was not so intimidating in his tone, he felt that Mertes' comments crossed the line and became homophobic and hateful. As soon as Mertes related his friend's experience— and the friend's feelings about being propositioned by a homosexual, Hall said,"I felt uncomfortable. The whole situation has affected me in a very negative way," he said."Just being in that room brings back memories of what happened." Supporting Hall's criticism of Mertes' remark was Ronak Shah (shown on the left in the photo, above) and Amanda Hall (seated beside Will Hall. And, no I don't know if they are related.)

Hall's reaction to Mertes' comments brings a question to mind that begs a logical answer. If lesbians and homosexuals honestly believe that their aberrant behavior is biologically, psychologically and morally normal, then why should Hall have felt uncomfortable when Mertes mentioned that he was repulsed by that type of behavior? If he honestly felt his lifestyle was normal, he should have logically asked Mertes why he felt that way. Also, why would homosexuals ever feel the need to be "in the closet?" And why would Hall's walking back into Crystall's classroom bring back the horrible psychological "memories" of Mertes' remark? If homosexuality and lesbianism were normal, then there would be no difference between to two men or two women engaging in sex than, say, ethnically-diverse heterosexual couples making love. Yet, although they are generally politically-aligned only because the Democratic Party has become the "majority party" of minority alliances, most heterosexual Black Americans and most heterosexual Hispanic Americans feel as much disdain for homosexuals as the "privileged" Christian white males. Homosexuality is, after all, not an issue of societal privilege or immunity, it is an issue of biological morality.

When her class returned the following Tuesday, February 10, Crystall had placed a message on the blackboard in her classroom which said: "It is a teacher's right and responsibility to guide, support, and when necessary for the greater good of the classroom community, limit student comment."

In addition, on Feb. 6, Crystall sent an email to all of the 33 students in her Literature & Cultural Diversity class—including Mertes—in which she said: "..i (sic) find myself in the unfortunate position of having to resort to email..let (sic) me start off my (sic) saying that i (sic) apologize to all of you for not having made clear the first day of classes what i (sic) will make clear here and now: that i (sic) will not tolerate any racist, sexist, and/or heterosexist comments in my class. what (sic) we heard thursday (sic) at the end of class constitutes "hate speech" and is completely unacceptable. it (sic) has created a hostile environment. i (sic) am deeply sorry and apologize to those of us who are now feeling that the classroom we share is an unsafe environment, for those of us who feel vulnerable or threatened. i (sic) will do my best to counter those feelings and protect that space from further violence. 2. what (sic) we experienced, as unfortunate as it is, is, however, a perfect example of privilege. that (sic) a white, heterosexual, christian (sic) male, one who vehemently denied his privilege last week insisting that he earned all he has, can feel entitled to make violent, heterosexist comments and not feel marked or threatened or vulnerable is what privilege makes possible...thank (sic) you, elyse (sic).

A female Christian student in Mertes' class forwarded Crystall's email to a local conservative Raleigh talk show host who read the email over the air, creating what could be construed as a "tightening of the bible belt" in traditionally Christian North Carolina. The culturally-diverse Ms. Crystall suddenly found herself under attack from the right, with her job threatened.

Entering the fray on the side of young Mr. Mertes was 5th term, 3rd District Republican Congressman Walter Jones (the man who gave America "Freedom Fries"). Jones filed a formal complaint against Crystall and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill with the U.S. Education Department's Civil Rights Division. He also filed a formal protest with North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, asking him to determine whether the Crystall broke any state laws in her public chastisement of Mertes.

Jones' action caused a major stir. The homosexual rights activists at the University of North Carolina insisted that existing anti-discrimination laws based on race, gender and sexual orientation cannot be applied unless the victim of the discrimination action is a member of a group that has historically been marginalized. Suddenly, the homosexual and lesbian communities realized that "their law" was going to be used against them. It was unfathomable to think that America's anti-discrimination laws, so carefully tailored by the liberal elite to provide minorities with an economic edge over their peers in the American society, could actually be used to protect a "white, heterosexual, privileged Christian male." (In point of fact, today's white Christian, middle class heterosexual male is now officially a minority. We represent about 36% of the total population, while females of all races and ethnic persuasions constitute approximately 52% of the total population. All males: white, Hispanic, Black, homosexual and heterosexual, constitute approximately 48% of the total population. Males, as a gender, are now an official minority in America. While males are quickly becoming a minority group within the male gender. Middle class Christian white males are a mathematical minority in the male community.)

When Jones filed his protests, he made it clear he would have done the same thing if Mertes had been a Jewish or Muslim student. "To me, this is a freedom issue," Jones told the media. "When young people go to college [there should be] freedom in the classroom—and that applies to the teacher as well as the student. The student should be able to express his or her views without feeling any type of intimidation."

While the US Department of Education's Civil Rights Division continued its investigation throughout the summer, UNC-CH Chancellor James Moeser came under fire from an angry public—and in particular an alumni association that funds much of the activities of the university. Moeser quickly admonished Crystall and instructed her to apologize to Mertes, ending the matter as far as the University of North Carolina was concerned. Crystall sent the same 33 students the following email: "The purpose of this class," she wrote, "is for all of us to be able to discuss difficult and sensitive issues. We all want each person to be able to express his or her opinions freely and openly, but responsibly and respectfully as well. I regret that my email to you last week crossed a line and inhibited free discussion." Concluding, Crystall added: "And I am sorry if anyone was offended by my email; my intention was to promote respectful conversation among us, not to censor anyone. We should not make specific examples of anyone, and I should not have named anyone. I hope that we can all work together to clarify these issues."

In August, Attorney General Cooper determined that Crystall had violated Mertes' civil rights. On Wednesday, September 22, 2004 the Civil Rights Division of the US Department of Education ruled that Crystall had "...illegally subjected a student to intentional discrimination and harassment [because he was] a white, heterosexual Christian male" who disapproved of homosexuality when she accused him of "hate speech." Alice N. Wender, the southern regional director for civil rights said that Crystall's actions discouraged the robust exchange of ideas that is intrinsic to higher education. Several conservative talk show hosts and print journalists noted that had Crystall substituted the words "black American" or "homosexual" or "lesbian" for "white heterosexual Christian," they would have been terminated. Unfortunately for the students who registered for classes at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in August, Crystall's contract was renewed by Moeser—who has been the driving force behind UNC's rapidly expanding sexual and gender diversity program.

To graduate from the University of North Carolina today, all students must pass a discussion seminar on diversity issues. To pass the seminar, the student is forced to agree with the university's diversity position.

On the heels of Mertes' victory with the DoEdu came a new action from Chancellor Moeser. Moeser quickly moved to shut down Mertes' off-campus fraternity, Alpha Iota Omega on the grounds that the student group violates the university's anti-discrimination policies because the Christian fraternity excludes non-Christians and homosexuals from membership. Alpha Iota Omega has filed a federal lawsuit against UNC-CH to protect its membership policies from UNC interference. Similar actions by universities to forcibly disband Christian fraternities have been filed by the Gonzaga University (Spokane, Washington), the University of Minnesota, Southwest Missouri State University, the University of Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania State University on the grounds that Christian fraternities—which require a loyalty pledge to God and the tenets of Christianity—discriminate against non-Christians and homosexuals.

Christian conservatives who graduated from these universities need to apply pressure through their alumni associationsalthough they will be hard-pressed to threaten the boards of these august institutions by withholding any contributions they might be making annually since the diversity programs now found in most institutions of higher education in America were orchestrated by about 100 major foundations including the Rockefeller Foundation, the Pew Foundation and the Carnegie Trust, which have demanded that "diversity training" become a regular part of the university's curriculum. Homosexuality is, after all, tomorrow's answer to the population explosion.


Just Say No
Copyright 2009 Jon Christian Ryter.
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