Christian College Asks Transgender Theology Professor to Leave School

Azusa Pacific University, a Christian school in California, is trying to push a transgendered theology professor out of the school… but they’ll have to find an awkward Jesus-based way to do it now that there’s some media attention on the matter.

Sarah Pulliam Bailey of Religion News Service tells the professor’s story:

Professor Heath Adam Ackley (via Facebook)

Heather Clements taught theology at the school for 15 years, but this past year, he has begun referring to himself as H. Adam Ackley.

Ackley, who is in his third year of a five-year contract, told RNS that he and APU have agreed to part ways as the university said it will continue to pay him through the academic year. But, he said, the university wants other professors to take over his classes. He also said that his insurance was denied when he sought hormone treatment and “top surgery” for his chest area.

Clements has opened up his Facebook page and created a YouTube channel in response to the media attention but wants everyone to know that the reason has nothing to do with getting attention:

“I do NOT desire to promote MYSELF, only the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

This is a messy situation for the school. No one would be surprised if Christian officials kicked out a professor for being in a gay or lesbian relationship — but for being transgender?

Which Bible verse condemns a gender transition?

Hell, which university rule condemns a gender transition?

To his knowledge, Ackley said there is nothing in the university’s policies about transgender people, just that “Humans were created as gendered beings.”

“People assumed that I’ve done something some sex act,” he said. “I’m not violating any sexual conduct and it’s embarrassing that it’s implied. I live a very chaste life.”

The school is free to do as it pleases, but let’s face it: no one would be surprised to see the Christian officials acting exactly how we all think they’ll act. The shocking thing would be if they accepted Ackley as he is without passing judgment on something they clearly know little about and helped him with his transition.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.