Maryland College Leveled With Second Suit for Rejecting Student Because of Faith

CCBC Credit Kevin SmithBALTIMORE — A community college in Maryland has been leveled with a second lawsuit for allegedly rejecting a student because of his Christian faith.

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) has filed a legal challenge against the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) on behalf of student Dustin Buxton for denying him entry into the college’s radiation therapy program because he cited his faith during his interview as an applicant.

“During that interview in 2013, Dustin was asked by the CCBC interview panel, ‘What do you base your morals on?’ Dustin replied, ‘My faith,'” ACLJ attorney Michelle Terry outlined in a report this week. “His faith was not mentioned again, yet, in a written review of his interview, the program director, Adrienne Dougherty, stated that Dustin had lost points because ‘[Dustin] also brought up religion a great deal during the interview. Yes, this is a field that involves death and dying; but religion cannot be brought up in the clinic by therapist or students.'”

Buxton applied for the program for both the 2013 and 2014 school years, surpassing academic standards and making the dean’s list in 2013. However, after his initial interview in 2013, he was not invited back for another interview when he applied the following year, even though his grade point average (GPA) was even higher than the year before.

Buxton then attempted to discuss his denials with various officials at the college, including Charles Martino, the academic adviser for the radiation therapy program, who advised that he did not believe Buxton was rejected because of his GPA.

In July of this year, Buxton sought to register for another class outside of the program, but discovered that a hold had been placed on his account. The ACLJ soon became involved to intervene on Buxton’s behalf, and was told that the hold was due to the college’s desire to discuss Martino’s meeting with the student further, but that representatives had been unable to reach Buxton because he had changed his phone number. Buxton said he has had the same telephone number for ten years and never received a call from officials.

“Due to the ACLJ’s advocacy, CCBC agreed to, and did, remove the hold from Dustin’s account without further issue,” Terry outlined. “Unfortunately, CCBC officials have yet to admit Dustin to the radiation therapy program.”

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Therefore, the ACLJ filed a legal challenged against CCBC—the second of its kind against the school in the past five months.

“Our lawsuit requests that the court state that the defendants’ actions did in fact violate the First Amendment, prohibit all defendants and CCBC officials from further retaliating against Dustin for the expression of his religious beliefs, and require CCBC to immediately admit Dustin to the radiation therapy program,” Terry outlined.

As previously reported, the ACLJ also filed suit against the college in April after student Brandon Jenkins was allegedly likewise denied entry into the program due to his responses during the interview phase.

“I understand that religion is a major part of your life and that was evident in your recommendation letters; however, this field is not the place for religion,” Dougherty wrote in response to Jenkins’ inquiry surrounding the rejection.

“We have many patients who come to us for treatment from many different religions and some who believe in nothing at all,” she said. “If you interview in the future, you may want to leave your thoughts and beliefs out of the interview process.”

Photo: Kevin Smith


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  • C.P. Steinmetz

    He said, she said:

    “His faith was not mentioned again, yet, in a written review of his interview, the program director, Adrienne Dougherty, stated that Dustin had lost points because ‘[Dustin] also brought up religion a great deal during the interview.”

    Who has the most incentive to shade the truth? My money is on him.

    • James J. Grimes

      It is fortunate that your opinion holds little weight. In your eyes, the young man was “guilty” as soon as you had heard/read the story. You should try to have an open mind when you read a story such as this.

  • Mark

    This is just plain ugly religious bigotry.

  • Lee Norris

    Slam dunk First Amendment violation.

  • Gjuro Kladaric

    aaaaaaaaaaaaaa, new vay of enrolling the college: declare yourself as xtian and then, if refused, sue for alleged religious intolerance

    :-)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))) scoundrel…

    • James Grimes

      This is really a hateful statement. I guess that’s why you’re trolling this site. Please leave.

      • Gjuro Kladaric

        the answer “faith” to the question “What do you base your morals on?” is simply the wrong one, for it there were morals in faith, there would not be hundred of thousands of children raped by thousands of priests, covered up by hundreds of bishops, and then all that denied by millions of sheep in xtian flock…

        and especially that answer is wrong in the field of medical science and services…

        of course, you will again say that I am ‘hateful’, but that is also wrong answer… the right one is ‘of other opinion’…

        then, why would I leave? by publishing publicly and article and allowing comments, you invite comments from public… do you expect only appraising comments?

        • James Grimes

          I’m still not interested. I have no tolerance for ATHEISTS on this site.

          • Gjuro Kladaric

            as you please. but, remember, tranquility is good, one truth only is not. good bye.

        • jmichael39

          What a truly imbecilic argument. When you learn to present an argument via the use of logic come on back. Until then, live with the reality that such posts will paint in but one light…the light of bigotry and hatred.

          • Gjuro Kladaric

            but of course… atheists are those that excercise bigotry and hatred… and are imbecilic… :-)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))) as you please… religion (any) is really the only existing hell…

          • jmichael39

            Well, considering I’m not in a religion, but a relationship…you’re vain attempt at an insult is mildly amusing. I’m still waiting for some logic. Care to give it a try?

  • Ted Striker

    Sounds like a Satanist or a I-worship-myself atheist is running the admission program. Save the college some money by firing him/her now based on incompetence and discrimination.

  • Go Away

    Personally, I wouldn’t know how to answer such a question. “What do you base your morals on?” I don’t need a book to know not to kill people, not to steal, not to eat babies… If a potential student needs to rely on an invisible sky man for his morality, as long as they honestly follow the lessons in their holy book, what difference does it make?

    • jmichael39

      A simple…but truly shallow view of morality. I would venture to ask you what is the source of you ‘knowing’ not to kill people or not to steal or eat babies?

      • Go Away

        My “knowledge” isn’t based on an ancient book of fairy tales, it’s based on the fact that I wouldn’t want that done to me. If I don’t think that it would be right for someone to steal from me or for someone to try to kill me, then it wouldn’t be alright for me to do that to someone else. What is your source of the knowledge of right and wrong? A bronze age book of fairy stories that contains more errors than a Fox “news” broadcast?

        • jmichael39

          “it’s based on the fact that I wouldn’t want that done to me.” – You mean like “do to others as you would want done to you”?

          Sounds to me like you’re inferring that your basis for morality in your conscience AND your conscious mind’s choice to follow that conscience. Would that be accurate?

          • Go Away

            I really feel sorry for people who need a bronze era book of fairy tales to know that it’s not right to kill, steal, or eat babies. However, a lot of followers of the invisible sky man didn’t follow it anyway. Just look at the Americas… Conquistadors, carrying copies of that book stole land and gold, and killed and enslaved natives. Where was the xtian “morality” then? While there’s less of it now (at least it’s not supported by the church), it still goes on in the form of priests raping altar boys, and TV evangelists who use donations to support a lavish lifestyle.

          • jmichael39

            For my part, I feel sorry for people who think that are some intellectually evolved creature but can’t even engage in a debate without bastardizing the rules of debate and logic.

          • Go Away

            If you don’t like it, there’s the door. I have trouble debating with morons…

          • jmichael39

            Your trouble is debating PERIOD. I asked you a simple question to clarify a previous post and your response is strawmen and vitriol….and you have the audacity to call ME a ‘moron’. You come trolling Christian news sites looking to throw around insults and you’re telling ME where the door is. Time to grow up.

          • Go Away

            I came here trying to stick up for a person trying to get an education, something that you’re obviously lacking. As long as a person is able to perform the job that they’re trying to attain, what difference does it make what fairy tales they believe? My main problem is having to deal with idiots like you that insist that they invisible sky man is real because a bronze age book says that it’s true. If you want to talk to me about the rules of logic, first prove that your god actually exists, instead of trying to force me to prove a negative! This is supposed to be a country where everyone is equal and false religions have no say in the economic and educational opportunities of the individual. If you want to try a country that bases everything on religion, Einstein, I can give you directions to Iran.

          • jmichael39

            And yet MORE strawmen, poisoning the well, false dichomies and other forms of logical fallacies.

            We can prove the existence of a Creator in numerous ways using pure logic. Here’s one.

            Major Premise – where there is design and order there is a designer/orderer.
            Minor Premise – there is clear evidence of design and order throughout the universe. I’d be happy to present several samples, if you’d like.

            Conclusion – there is a Designer/Orderer to the universe.

            If you don’t accept those premises then you’ll have to express substantive reasons why you don’t. And if you accept the premises but reject the conclusion, then you’ll have to provide an alternative conclusion.

          • Go Away

            Infinite monkeys… An infinite number of monkeys, typing on an infinite number of typewriters, for an infinite amount of time, will eventually create the complete works of Shakespeare. This would be complete at random and shows no “intelligent design”. A more modern analogy might be an infinite number of computers, running random character generators, for an infinite amount of time would eventually create the entire New York City telephone directory. Would you claim that this “design and order” implies intelligence in the computers? If you’re rational enough to understand the lack of a creator, why is it so hard for you to imagine an infinite number of stars, with an infinite number of planets could randomly create life?

          • jmichael39

            ” Would you claim that this “design and order” implies intelligence in the computers? ” – Actually, no. But I would consider the designers and programmers of those computers to be highly intelligent. For that matter, I’d consider the Creator of those monkeys to be rather intelligent as well. Wouldn’t you?

            “If you’re rational enough to understand the lack of a creator, why is it so hard for you to imagine an infinite number of stars, with an infinite number of planets could randomly create life?” – I have absolutely no problem with the concept of the infinite. What you fail to get past is the numerical element of the infinite. No matter how many stars, planets or monkeys there are, there is literally no evidence to support the notion that they are self-created. Nor, in your example, is there an iota of evidence that any of those things have any ability produce life of any kind. Life may be possible on a multitude of planets, but no scientist would ever conclude that the planets themselves create life of any kind. So your problem of origins is yet to be resolved.

            BTW, you might want to read the works of Georg Cantor on infinity. Infinity is not as simple as you seem to think it is. For example, Cantor proposed several important ideas regarding the infinite…including the notion that there are different sizes to the infinite. He called these transfinite.

            Above the transfinite, Cantor also expressed an Absolute Infinite. He said, “The actual infinite arises in three contexts: first when it is realized in the most complete form, in a fully independent otherworldly being, in Deo, where I call it the Absolute Infinite or simply Absolute; second when it occurs in the contingent, created world; third when the mind grasps it in abstracto as a mathematical magnitude, number or order type.”

          • Go Away

            You make a decent argument. However, there’s another question… If an intelligent being created the computers that created a legible document from random characters, you have to assume that someone or some thing created the computer designers and programmers. So, who created the creator?

          • jmichael39

            The argument is basically very simple, natural, intuitive, and commonsensical. We have to become complex and clever in order to doubt or dispute it. It is based on an instinct of mind that we all share: the instinct that says everything needs an explanation. Nothing just is without a reason why it is. Everything that is has some adequate or sufficient reason why it is.

            Philosophers call this the Principle of Sufficient Reason. We use it every day, in common sense and in science as well as in philosophy and theology. If we saw a rabbit suddenly appear on an empty table, we would not blandly say, “Hi, rabbit. You came from nowhere, didn’t you?” No, we would look for a cause, assuming there has to be one. Did the rabbit fall from the ceiling? Did a magician put it there when we weren’t looking? If there seems to be no physical cause, we look for a psychological cause: perhaps someone hypnotized us. As a last resort, we look for a supernatural cause, a miracle. But there must be some cause. We never deny the Principle of Sufficient Reason itself. No one believes the Pop Theory: that things just pop into existence for no reason at all. Perhaps we will never find the cause, but there must be a cause for everything that comes into existence.

            Now the whole universe is a vast, interlocking chain of things that come into existence. Each of these things must therefore have a cause. My parents caused me, my grandparents caused them, et cetera. But it is not that simple. I would not be here without billions of causes, from the Big Bang through the cooling of the galaxies and the evolution of the protein molecule to the marriages of my ancestors. The universe is a vast and complex chain of causes. But does the universe as a whole have a cause? Is there a first cause, an uncaused cause, a transcendent cause of the whole chain of causes? If not, then there is an infinite regress of causes, with no first link in the great cosmic chain. If so, then there is an eternal, necessary, independent, self-explanatory being with nothing above it, before it, or supporting it. It would have to explain itself as well as everything else, for if it needed something else as its explanation, its reason, its cause, then it would not be the first and uncaused cause. Such a being would have to be God, of course. If we can prove there is such a first cause, we will have proved there is a God.

            Why must there be a first cause? Because if there isn’t, then the whole universe is unexplained, and we have violated our Principle of Sufficient Reason for everything. If there is no first cause, each particular thing in the universe is explained in the short run, or proximately, by some other thing, but nothing is explained in the long run, or ultimately, and the universe as a whole is not explained. Everyone and everything says in turn, “Don’t look to me for the final explanation. I’m just an instrument. Something else caused me.” If that’s all there is, then we have an endless passing of the buck. God is the one who says, “The buck stops here.”

            If there is no first cause, then the universe is like a great chain with many links; each link is held up by the link above it, but the whole chain is held up by nothing. If there is no first cause, then the universe is like a railroad train moving without an engine. Each car’s motion is explained proximately by the motion of the car in front of it: the caboose moves because the boxcar pulls it, the boxcar moves because the cattle car pulls it, et cetera. But there is no engine to pull the first car and the whole train. That would be impossible, of course. But that is what the universe is like if there is no first cause: impossible.

            Here is one more analogy. Suppose I tell you there is a book that explains everything you want explained. You want that book very much. You ask me whether I have it. I say no, I have to get it from my wife. Does she have it? No, she has to get it from a neighbor. Does he have it? No, he has to get it from his teacher, who has to get it. . . et cetera, etcetera, ad infinitum. No one actually has the book. In that case, you will never get it. However long or short the chain of book borrowers may be, you will get the book only if someone actually has it and does not have to borrow it. Well, existence is like that book. Existence is handed down the chain of causes, from cause to effect. If there is no first cause, no being who is eternal and self-sufficient, no being who has existence by his own nature and does not have to borrow it from someone else, then the gift of existence can never be passed down the chain to others, and no one will ever get it. But we did get it. We exist.

            In more abstract philosophical language, the proof goes this way. Every being that exists either exists by itself, by its own essence or nature, or it does not exist by itself. If it exists by its own essence, then it exists necessarily and eternally, and explains itself. It cannot not exist, as a triangle cannot not have three sides. If, on the other hand, a being exists but not by its own essence, then it needs a cause, a reason outside itself for its existence. Because it does not explain itself, something else must explain it. Beings whose essence does not contain the reason for their existence, beings that need causes, are called contingent, or dependent, beings. A being whose essence is to exist is called a necessary being. The universe contains only contingent beings. God would be the only necessary being—if God existed. Does he? Does a necessary being exist? Here is the proof that it does. Dependent beings cannot cause themselves. They are dependent on their causes. If there is no independent being, then the whole chain of dependent beings is dependent on nothing and could not exist. But they do exist. Therefore there is an independent being.

            See Peter Kreepf’s Argument By Causality.

            Would you like more?

          • jmichael39

            Okay…here’s more

            Saint Thomas has four versions of this basic argument.

            First, he argues that the chain of movers must have a first mover because nothing can move itself. (Moving here refers to any kind of change, not just change of place.) If the whole chain of moving things had no first mover, it could not now be moving, as it is. If there were an infinite regress of movers with no first mover, no motion could ever begin, and if it never began, it could not go on and exist now. But it does go on, it does exist now. Therefore it began, and therefore there is a first mover.

            Second, he expands the proof from proving a cause of motion to proving a cause of existence, or efficient cause. He argues that if there were no first efficient cause, or cause of the universe’s coming into being, then there could be no second causes because second causes (i.e., caused causes) are dependent on (i.e., caused by) a first cause (i.e., an uncaused cause). But there are second causes all around us. Therefore there must be a first cause.

            Third, he argues that if there were no eternal, necessary, and immortal being, if everything had a possibility of not being, of ceasing to be, then eventually this possibility of ceasing to be would be realized for everything. In other words, if everything could die, then, given infinite time, everything would eventually die. But in that case nothing could start up again. We would have universal death, for a being that has ceased to exist cannot cause itself or anything else to begin to exist again. And if there is no God, then there must have been infinite time, the universe must have been here always, with no beginning, no first cause. But this universal death has not happened; things do exist! Therefore there must be a necessary being that cannot not be, cannot possibly cease to be. That is a description of God.

            Fourth, there must also be a first cause of perfection or goodness or value. We rank things as more or less perfect or good or valuable. Unless this ranking is false and meaningless, unless souls don’t really have any more perfection than slugs, there must be a real standard of perfection to make such a hierarchy possible, for a thing is ranked higher on the hierarchy of perfection only insofar as it is closer to the standard, the ideal, the most perfect. Unless there is a most-perfect being to be that real standard of perfection, all our value judgments are meaningless and impossible. Such a most-perfect being, or real ideal standard of perfection, is another description of God.

            There is a single common logical structure to all four proofs. Instead of proving God directly, they prove him indirectly, by refuting atheism. Either there is a first cause or not. The proofs look at “not” and refute it, leaving the only other possibility, that God is.

            Each of the four ways makes the same point for four different kinds of cause: first, cause of motion; second, cause of a beginning to existence; third, cause of present existence; and fourth, cause of goodness or value. The common point is that if there were no first cause, there could be no second causes, and there are second causes (moved movers, caused causers, dependent and mortal beings, and less-than-wholly-perfect beings). Therefore there must be a first cause of motion, beginning, existence, and perfection.

          • jmichael39

            And just so you don’t think we don’t think about objections like you raised (look specifically at #3):

            How can anyone squirm out of this tight logic? Here are four ways in which different philosophers try.

            First, many say the proofs don’t prove God but only some vague first cause or other. “God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, not the God of philosophers and scholars”, cries Pascal, who was a passionate Christian but did not believe you could logically prove God’s existence. It is true that the proofs do not prove everything the Christian means by God, but they do prove a transcendent, eternal, uncaused, immortal, self-existing, independent, all-perfect being. That certainly sounds more like God than like Superman! It’s a pretty thick slice of God, at any rate—much too much for any atheist to digest.

            Second, some philosophers, like Hume, say that the concept of cause is ambiguous and not applicable beyond the physical universe to God. How dare we use the same term for what clouds do to rain, what parents do to children, what authors do to books, and what God does to the universe? The answer is that the concept of cause is analogical—that is, it differs somewhat but not completely from one example to another. Human fatherhood is like divine fatherhood, and physical causality is like divine causality. The way an author conceives a book in his mind is not exactly the same as the way a woman conceives a baby in her body either, but we call both causes. (In fact, we also call both conceptions.) The objection is right to point out that we do not fully understand how God causes the universe, as we understand how parents cause children or clouds cause rain. But the term remains meaningful. A cause is the sine qua non for an effect: if no cause, no effect. If no creator, no creation; if no God, no universe.

            Third, it is sometimes argued (e.g., by Bertrand Russell) that there is a self-contradiction in the argument, for one of the premises is that everything needs a cause, but the conclusion is that there is something (God) which does not need a cause. The child who asks “Who made God?” is really thinking of this objection. The answer is very simple: the argument does not use the premise that everything needs a cause. Everything in motion needs a cause, everything dependent needs a cause, everything imperfect needs a cause.

            Fourth, it is often asked why there can’t be infinite regress, with no first being. Infinite regress is perfectly acceptable in mathematics: negative numbers go on to infinity just as positive numbers do. So why can’t time be like the number series, with no highest number either negatively (no first in the past) or positively (no last in the future)? The answer is that real beings are not like numbers: they need causes, for the chain of real beings moves in one direction only, from past to future, and the future is caused by the past. Positive numbers are not caused by negative numbers. There is, in fact, a parallel in the number series for a first cause: the number one. If there were no first positive integer, no unit one, there could be no subsequent addition of units. Two is two ones, three is three ones, and so on. If there were no first, there could be no second or third.

            If this argument is getting too tricky, the thing to do is to return to what is sure and clear: the intuitive point we began with. Not everyone can understand all the abstract details of the first-cause argument, but anyone can understand its basic point: as C. S. Lewis put it, “I felt in my bones that this universe does not explain itself.”

          • Go Away

            If everything needs a creator, who created the supposed creator? Why is it impossible for you to imagine an eternal, cyclical “big bang” event, but you have no problem creating an imaginary “god”?

          • jmichael39

            Already answered…go read…oh wait, you’re not responding to my posts anymore. I forgot. Nevermind.

          • Go Away

            No, I said that I wasn’t reading your long winded babbling. Please find someone who can translate into your native language, idiot.

          • jmichael39

            Long winded babbling? LMAO…in other words, its over your infantile intellect. Why didn’t you tell everyone in the first place that you’re an uneducated buffoon?

          • Go Away

            Neither you nor your “god” are worth more than a few seconds of reading time. If you could shorten your rants, you might have something worth reading.

          • jmichael39

            in other words, you have no ability to refute the existence of God, you feel better just being a hateful bigot, right?

          • Go Away

            No, in other words, I have a job and can’t waste time reading your long winded rants.

          • jmichael39

            In other words, I’m right. Which only substantiates my point that you don’t come here to debate, but purely make an ass of yourself. Thanks for clarifying. Not that I didn’t already know that.

          • Go Away

            Rambling away with long winded rants don’t make you right, they just make people use the phrase “baffle them with bull shit” whenever they talk about you.

          • jmichael39

            You’re right…the long intelligent posts DON’T make me right. Refute what I presented and prove me wrong then. Its as simple as that. Either that or GO AWAY.

          • Go Away

            Present your rant in a form that doesn’t take hours to read, and I might read them. It’s as simple as that.

          • jmichael39

            seriously? are you a four year old? Its less than three pages long.

          • Go Away

            A hateful bigot? Against your fantasy friend? I’ll bet that he/she/it must must really be devastated by that. Take your medication, and your “god(s)” won’t bother you anymore.

          • jmichael39

            Like I said, your pathetically low level of intelligence is getting old real fast. No, not a bigot against God…against those who believe in HIM. If you paid for a college education, demand your money back…you were ripped off.

          • Go Away

            Please consult a professional. Your insistence that you’re smarter than the rest of the world is a symptom of a psychiatric disorder. Don’t believe me? read it for yourself in the DSM.

          • jmichael39

            nice try, GW…I have NEVER insisted I’m smarter than the “rest of the world”…only YOU.