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Emily Brooker

College was a rude awakening for Emily Brooker. Her freshman year, she received a class assignment to perform homosexual behavior in public, such as holding hands or kissing, and then write a paper about the experience. Emily didn’t do the assignment, but she wrote the paper as if she had. She received an “A”, but vowed never to compromise her faith again.

Three years later, as a senior, Emily again faced a difficult choice. One of her professors announced a class project of advocating foster and adoption rights for homosexuals, culminating with signing and sending a letter to the state legislature. Emily fulfilled all the requirements of the class, but drew the line on signing the letter.

She tried to explain to her professor that she couldn’t advocate for something that went against her faith, but the professor became irate. Emily planned to discuss the issue with him again with the social work department head, but before she had the chance, the department head called. Her professor had filed a grievance against her. The hearing would include not just the head and the professor, but seven faculty members. Emily wasn’t allowed to bring a lawyer or record the proceedings, and her parents had to wait outside the door for two and a half hours.

Alone, Emily faced the faculty as they interrogated her about her Christian faith. When she refused to back down, they insisted that she sign a contract vowing to “close the gap” between her faith and the social work program, or else not graduate.

Once she had her diploma in hand, with the help of Alliance Defending Freedom Emily took legal action against the school for violating her freedom of religion and expression. Ten days later, the president of the university publicly apologized to Emily, offered to pay for her to attend graduate school, and began an investigation of the social work department. The four tenured professors were moved to other departments, and four other faculty members were dismissed.

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