A theological professor in Atlanta who was recently fired from his position is claiming that he was fired for expressing his conservative position related to homosexuality.
Rev. Jamal-Dominique Hopkins, an expert on the Dead Sea Scrolls, recently filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The complaint accused the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) administrators of harassment that included "disagreeing with my conservative religious ideals, intimidating me, slandering my character, giving me poor evaluations, and changing student grades from failing to passing with no merit.''
Hopkins, 42, explained that the fallout started after a representative from InterVarsity Christian Fellowship spoke at an event he organized in February. Attendees were given a book that declared homosexuality was a sin. Following the event, Hopkins was confronted about the distribution of the book by his department chair, Rev. Margaret Aymer, according to reports from Religion News Service.
"It was primarily the book that created an issue," Hopkins, a former associate professor of New Testament, told RNS.
But officials with the ITC stated that his dismissal was not related to the content of distribution of the book and that Hopkins is distorting the facts because he is an angry former employee.
"The reality is that the non-renewal of Dr. Hopkins' contract had nothing to do with academic freedom or any efforts to infringe thereon,'' ITC President Ronald Peters wrote in a statement published Aug. 8.
Peters added that Hopkins' comments were "disappointing remarks of a disgruntled former employee and … misrepresentation of fact."
Hopkins hired his father, Joe C. Hopkins, who is a California-based lawyer, to represent him during this process. He added that a lawsuit could be filed if ongoing negotiations could not resolve the matter.
"This is retaliation for standing up for his rights, bottom line," Joe Hopkins told RNS.