Bigots have rights too.

An L.A. City College student is suing the school after an anti-gay marriage speech he was giving in a public speaking class was cut off by his professor, who objected to the content, labeled him a “fascistbastard ” and then refused to give him credit.

Jonathan Lopez, who is working on his associate of arts degree at Los Angeles City College, quoted a dictionary definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman and cited several Bible verses during a public speaking class in late November, his suit says. His professor, John Matteson, interrupted, called Lopez a “fascist bastard” and refused to let him finish his address, according to the suit.

The professor also refused to give Lopez a grade for the speech, telling him to “ask God” for his mark, the suit alleges. And when Lopez complained to college officials, Matteson threatened to have him expelled, the suit says. [from LA Now]

If true, we have a professor who not only believes it’s okay to mock someone’s religious beliefs while censoring speech, but also abuses their authority when a student tries to report such behavior? Can someone at Fox News please get Professor Matteson a talk show? He’d fit right in.

(to be fair, though, the very unscientific site “” gives a largely favorable impression of Matteson, with the most common critique being that he’s crazy “in a good way.”)

7 thoughts on “Bigots have rights too.”

  1. It’s a public speaking class, for Christ’s sake, not a poli-sci course. If anything, Matteson, the instructor, could have and should have (if possible) used the tools of the curriculum to poke holes in the student’s presentation and invite the other students to deconstruct the speech as well. The goal is to promote clear thinking and clear presentation and quite often that includes how a student/speaker approaches a touchy issue.

  2. I’ll bet Matteson is a big proponent of the First Ammendment, too. The kid may be a bigot, but he should be allowed to prove that with his speech. It’s been said before, but I’ll repeat it here: the First Ammendment doesn’t protect the speech we agree with; it protects the speech we don’t.

    I wonder if Matteson gets to keep his job?

  3. I RTA and I’m PRETTY sure there’s more to this story than the couple paragraphs lead on. Who knows? People are overreacting to all kinds of things these days. Typically, Bible verses and dictionary definitions don’t light my fuse. Wonder what the back story is…

  4. Yeah, there are a couple of items missing in the back story: one is the paradox of the teacher calling the student a fascist and then refusing to let him finish his speech. A good dictionary definition of fascism would serve Mr. Matteson well in the future. The other shoe to drop here is that the young man’s case is being handled through the ultra-conservative Christian group Focus on Family. The student is a Christian and apparently a true believer. James Dobson cherry picks cases like this out of the media quite often and why not? Idiots like Matteson give Dobson and crew a perfect opportunity to place their core beliefs into the public dialogue.

  5. Sweet jeebus, the most passionate speeches are those that have a topic near and dear to the heart of the speaker. Barring some sort of assigned topic list what did he do wrong other than speak on a topic the teacher disliked. We are missing some details.

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