For over 15 years Heather Ann Clements has been teaching various topics at the evangelical “Christian” Azusa Pacific University (APU) is a private university near Los Angeles that boosts a student body of nearly 10,000. But Clements will no longer be teaching there as she was unceremoniously and quickly fired after she announced that she was changing her gender identity from female to male.
Last week the 47-year-old Clements announced via Facebook that she now considers herself a man, and wants to be known as Heath Adam Ackley.
This comes one month after he delivered a sermon and pointed to Pat Robertson’s recent comments about men who believe they are trapped in a woman’s body.
“[T]here is neither male nor female, but we are one in Jesus Christ. What was broken has been rest
But obviously Azusa Pacific University does not feel the same way.
Heath Ackley posted: “Fired as my university uncomfortable with my change in gender identity,” the post states. “[T]oo hard to navigate with their conservative donor & media base.”
Officials at APU have released a statement, refusing to directly comment on but advising that “[u]niversity leadership is engaged in thoughtful conversations with our faculty member in order to honor the contribution and treat all parties with dignity and respect while upholding the values of the university. It is an ongoing conversation, and therefore, a confidential matter.”
Meanwhile students at APU are circulating a petition to urge the university to keep Ackley on staff, they applaud the former professor’s declaration.
“The vast majority of us hate what APU is doing. It’s the top that deserves the shame and blame for the firing of a good man. … I am ashamed of the actions of my school and the constant close-mindedness in regard to the LGBT community and especially Professor Ackley. Nothing in the actions of my university reflects the God I love.”
Under the current version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) now making its way through Congress, because of the very broad and misguided “religious exemption” Azusa Pacific University would be well within its rights, if passed into law to fire Heath Adam Ackley.