A Polk State University student says that her humanities professor gave her four consecutive zeros after she disagreed with his negative views toward Christianity.
One of professor Lance “L.J.” Russum’s assignments asked students: why did Christianity and its male gods seek to silence women? Another insisted that Michelangelo’s sculptures and paintings communicated that same-sex relationships are not a sin.
Russum also reportedly criticized Christianity as one of the “most violent forms of religion the world has ever seen.”
But 16-year-old Grace Lewis, who virtually attends Polk State, said she disagreed with the educator over Christianity and religion, and she was consequently given four zeros.
Within the first week of the course, Lewis said Russum gave the class "a taste of his beliefs" when he said that all religions come from human imagination.
Lewis said in the following weeks, the assigned essay questions got even more "opinionated" and it became clear that Russum held some anti-religious views.
Mathew Staver, founder and chairman of the Liberty Counsel, told “Fox and Friends” that Lewis is a great student with a 3.9 GPA.
“She simply was being belittled because this person is a militant atheist intent on destroying her faith,” Staver said, explaining that Russum has done the same thing to other students.
Staver charged Russum with “proselytizing militant atheism” and said the college’s dean hasn’t taken action against the professor.
Lewis noted that her grades improved after she complained to the administration, but Staver and Lewis want her failing grades revisited. They also want the school to address the professor on the matter.
Steve Doocy asked Lewis why she didn't simply drop the class.
“Students shouldn't be afraid to believe in faith. Dropping the class would have been good for me, but it wouldn't have been good for the students coming behind me. [...] This is not what education should be,” Lewis said.
Eileen Holden, president of Polk State University, said in a statement, “This accusation is baseless, without merit, and completely lacking factual support.”
Read more on this story, here.
UPDATE: The Liberty Counsel issued a press release on the matter Thursday, which also contains the university's response. The university disputes that there was any discrimination against Lewis.