WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, America First Legal, along with co-counsel Jonathan F. Mitchell and Wally Zimolong, sued the County College of Morris (CCM) and its Dean of Students, Janique Caffie, for suspending and threatening a Christian student for preaching from the Bible and speaking against homosexuality.
The student, Kombe Sefelino, is a Christian who frequently speaks about the Bible and his Christian faith. He seeks to inform his classmates of the Bible’s teachings, urging them to repent of their sins and put their faith in Jesus. Mr. Sefelino will occasionally mention the Bible’s teachings on homosexuality, which warn practicing homosexuals (and other sinners) that they will not inherit the kingdom of God unless they repent. Sometimes while on campus, Mr. Sefelino quotes passages from the Bible declaring that “the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God,” and that “neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” 1 Cor. 6:9-10 (ESV). After someone complained to the college administration that Mr. Sefelino had made statements critical of homosexuality, the college issued a written warning declaring Mr. Sefelino’s statements “hate speech” that “demonstrated a bias against the LGBQT+ community.” The warning also told Mr. Sefelino that his statements violated New Jersey law.
Mr. Sefelino refused to self-censor in response to these threats, and continued to teach the Bible on campus. After Mr. Sefelino again repeated the Bible’s teachings on homosexuality, the college pronounced Mr. Sefelino guilty of “preaching hate speech on campus in reference to homosexuality and homosexuals” and suspended him for eleven days. Incredibly, CCM—a public taxpayer-funded institution bound by the Constitution’s free speech and religious freedom guarantees—threatened to expel him if he continued preaching against homosexuality. Without evincing any sense of irony, the college’s letter states: “We accept everyone here. There is no place for bias at CCM. You should think hard about whether this is the best environment for you.”
America First Legal proudly represents a student who will not be silenced.
Statement from Gene Hamilton, America First Legal Vice President and General Counsel:
“For generations, colleges and universities were centers for free speech and the open exchange of ideas. American students were taught to disagree with each other respectfully. This is no longer true, and many colleges and universities have become centers of censorship. Woke bureaucrats in colleges across the United States are more than happy to silence speech with which they disagree. We will not let this go on our watch.” said Gene Hamilton.
Read the complaint here.
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