Another Day, Another David Barton Falsehood

Every Friday, David Barton and Rick Green host "Good News Friday" on their "Wallbuilders Live" radio program during which they discuss "good news from around the nation the media doesn't report."

As we have noted in dozens and dozens of blog posts and even full-blown reports, Barton has something of a tendency to completely misrepresent things in order to bolster his ultra-right-wing agenda ... and he did it once again during today's radio program.

Barton and Green were discussing a recent decision 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in a case involving an Eastern Michigan University graduate student who was expelled from a counseling program after she refused to "affirm a client’s homosexual behavior" during counseling, citing religious objections.

The student, Julea Ward, sued the school, seeking summary judgment and lost.  So she appealed to the 6th Circuit, which ruled, not in her favor, but merely that she could have her case heard in court and the merits of her claim decided by a jury.

But, of course, that is not how Barton portrayed it at all, instead claiming that Ward had won her lawsuit outright and that the ruling was a huge victory that would protect other students from suffering the same fate as Ward:

What we had was a graduate student at Eastern Michigan University who, because of her religious beliefs, said 'look, I can't counsel people to be homosexual. You got to send them to some other counselor to do that.' And all the kids who had been doing that before had been dismissed from the program, [with the school] saying 'if you can't counsel pro-homosexuality, you can't be a counselor.'

And so this particular time, the graduate student sued and said 'look, you can't tell me because of my religious beliefs what I have to counsel." And the Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit ruled in the favor of this graduate student, saying you're right, you cannot dismiss this student from the program simply because they refuse to promote homosexuality.

Here's a good reversal and this is a great piece of good news. And it's not just a lower district court, this is the Court of Appeals in the 6th Circuit and this is a huge, huge victory and it's going to be cited across the nation for all sorts of other kids that are facing the same kind of discrimination.

The 6th Circuit ruled nothing of the sort.  As the decision [PDF] made clear, the Court merely ruled that both sides could make a compelling case and thus it should be decided by a jury:

Construing the evidence in the university’s favor, a jury might credit the university’s claim that such a policy existed and conclude that practicum students were subject to a general ban on referrals, making it difficult for Ward to demonstrate that she was expelled on pretextual grounds as opposed to the ground that she refused to adhere to a general and reasonable curricular requirement. Just as the inferences favor Ward in the one setting, they favor the university defendants in the other. At this stage of the case and on this record, neither side deserves to win as a matter of law.

...

For these reasons, we reverse and remand to the district court for further proceedings.

As we have said before, one of the main keys to Barton's success as a right-wing "expert" is that nobody on the Right ever bothers to check anything that he says ... or hold him accountable for all of the things that he gets wrong.

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