Transgender Right to Teach at Christian University?



For 15 years, Heather Ann Clement was a faculty member at Azusa Pacific University, an evangelical Christian school in Southern California.

But that changed last month, with the start of Azusa’s new academic year, when Heather came out as a transgender. The professor of theology began referring to herself as Heath Adam Ackley. And she even started to develop a more masculine appearance.

The professor of theology formerly known as Heather demanded that Azusa officially recognize “his” new name and gender change. So university administrators sat the prof down for several “thoughtful conversations.”

After hearing out Heather/Heath, it was abundantly clear to Azusa administrators that the evangelical Christian university’s long established “views on the theology of sexuality” were decidedly different from those of the transgender faculty member.

So they decided “it would be best for Dr. Ackley to pursue professional endeavors elsewhere.” And, by “mutual agreement,” he resigned this past Friday.

But not without becoming the latest cause célèbre among crusaders for LGBT “rights.” Indeed, said Ackley, he has garnered an “overwhelming amount of support” from his former students at Azusa, from fellow university professors, and from sympathizers on social media.

“We stand in solidarity with Adam,” declares an online petition, posted by Alyson Thatcher, an Azusa student.

She and her likeminded classmates, “strive to create a safer environment for students and faculty who have been marginalized by APU’s conservative policies, as well as those who have been victims of spiritual violence on campus.”

But what, pray tell, did young Miss Thatcher expect when she enrolled at Azusa?

That the Christian evangelical university would be no different than your typical Godless, socially-liberal institution of supposed higher learning?

That LGBT profs like Heather/Heath would be welcomed on Azusa’s God-fearing, socially conservative faculty? That students would spend their four years on campus partying like the last days of Sodom and Gomorrah?

And, as to the newly unemployed professor of theology formerly known as Heather, she/he obviously was deluded in thinking she/he could “reinvent” herself as a man, and her/his abomination before God wouldn’t get her/him kicked off the Azunsa faculty.

The transgender didn’t violate any of the university’s policies, her/his attorney, Paul Southwick, told NBC4 in Los Angeles. “The only code they have is homosexual conduct,” Southwick argued, “but Adam hasn’t (engaged) in homosexual conduct.”

His client is just a man trapped in a woman’s body.

Well, Heather/Heath’s gender-identity issues may not be a problem at secular universities – in fact, it probably would be celebrated as example of the university’s commitment to “diversity” in even its most perverse manifestations.

But no truly Christian institution would knowingly and willingly subject its young and impressionable students to an unabashed, unrepentant transgender professor.

Are Asunza administrators “homophobes” or “bigots” or “haters,” as they’ve been accused by supporters of Heather/Heath? Absolutely not.

They have responded with grace to the former prof’s gender confusion. “We appreciate Dr. Ackley’s past service,” read a statement from the university president, “and pray God’s best for the journey ahead.”

This entry was published on October 6, 2013 at 1:44 PM. It’s filed under HOMOSEXUALITY and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

17 thoughts on “Transgender Right to Teach at Christian University?

  1. What sex is the person in this video? What do you base your opinion on (DNA, presence of vagina but no penis, presence of teste, feminine appearance, feminine hormone levels, feminine identity, etc.)? In between the person in that video and someone who’s born normal is a spectrum Where are the lines?

    • Tracy, you appear to me to be a traditional Catholic (at least, based on your website). The Catholic bible unequivocally states, in Genesis 1:27:

      God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

      Do you disavow that scripture?

    • Tracy,

      How does a mutation (e.g., an abnormal DNA) serve to invalidate clear examples of sex?

      You mentioned a “spectrum” existing between “normal” and the person in the video with what the scientific community would deem abnormal DNA. However, that only suggests there are degrees to deformities, mutations, or abnormalities. Note, however, that no degree of abnormality prevents us from first identifying the subject. In other words, the person in the video was clearly identified as a “woman”. One which may be suffering an abnormality, but nonetheless a “woman”. In other words, we wouldn’t look at a mutated human born with three arms and suddenly declare he is not a human. We would merely say he is a human with an abnormality. In like manner, we wouldn’t say that a person born with some aspect of the opposite sex is no longer identifiable as what they are. We would simply say he or she is a person with abnormal features common to the opposite sex.

      The point is this: a man who claims to have been born as the wrong sex could only determine what the “wrong” sex was by first determining what he actually was. He could only believe that being a “man” is wrong by first identifying himself clearly as a man. And he determines this in the same commonsense way that we determine the sex of any creature, i.e., via genitals. And, while there are those with deformed genitals, such exceptions do not serve to render all others unidentifiable.



  2. Frank, great reply as with J.P. As for Clare, I am sorry. I just saw your photos. It must be incredibly difficult to defend a position you intrinsically know is wrong. Fighting daily the voice inside that says no while you argue how you “feel” so it must be right. However feelings do not necessarily indicate one is correct in their decision. One could be desperate for money and feel it’s alright to rob a rich person. They might justify it any way they can but in the end, they know it’s wrong.,
    Overweight people who no longer care to discipline themselves join the ranks of the obese which say “big is beautiful” just so they can continue eating and when they look in the mirror, feel better about themselves which they never really do.
    Clare, your sin is not your desire to be a woman or to dress like one. The sin comes when you fail to discipline yourself and give in to it.
    There is no gene that calls out to your “other” side. It is the Devil calling to your weakness but you should not obey.
    Read a Bible, call on the Lord. He will be found when you search for Him with all your heart. He loves you the way He created you. He still loves you and He wants you to come to Him so your life can finally be full.

  3. Great points. My only observation would be that, since she is a “she”, there’s no point in entertaining her error by writing “she/he”. Not to split hairs, but we should give no ground whatsoever in legitimizing this confused woman’s identity-claims.

    Because of the conflicting language, your comments were difficult to understand. What did you mean by “unanimity of bigotry”? Did you mean “bigotry” against APU’s position? Or “bigotry” against those who defend the Bible’s position on the issue? Furthermore, when you wrote, “No Christian is without hope”, to whom were you referring there? To those who call themselves Christian while defending immoral lifestyles? (If someone defends what is clearly and unambiguously an immoral lifestyle, are they likely to be truly Christian?) I’m just trying to get some clarity on your position. Thank you.

    Great article, JP.


  4. I note so much good in your article. The courage of Heath Adam Ackley, and of so many of his students. I note that even in an institution like Azusa, there is not a complete unanimity of bigotry. Thank you for that. It gives me hope that the administration of the institution will turn to Christ, and away from darkness and bigotry. No Christian is without that hope.

    • pastorjackwilson on said:

      In Claire’s sarcastic way she is saying that not everyone at the school thinks it’s wrong and there is “hope” for Christians based on her observation.
      Clare, have you observed the sky, the planets, the order of the world? Have you observed the detail of a baby growing inside of a womb? Just that alone proves there is a God and that God loves you. He caused Holy men to write a book of life for you. It is called the Bible. The God who loves you wants you to know the rules.As a child you may have been angry with your parents for not letting you do something you thought was great (like jumping off the garage roof) yet in the end, you saw that their superior intelligence was right. Grow a little more and see that God is right. You will be less tense.

      • I am afraid, Jack, you misread me completely.

        I read your post, and found in it Biblical Christian hope. We are all in a state of becoming, and you record how Azusa is improving. I am grateful for that. God’s loving purposes are being worked out.

      • Hi Clare, First, it was not my post. 2nd, Azuza is not improving it is decaying but I am sure you realize what I mean.

      • Jack, Perhaps Clare meant that APU is “improving” insofar as it is purifying itself of those apostate/false Christians among its staff who might otherwise mislead students by way of their aberrant behavior. Right, Clare?

      • Frank, people come to this site for various reasons. Some to build, some to tear down and some I imagine for their own entertainment.
        Claire, apparently thought I wrote the article, (J.P. did) and told me how I wrote that Azuza was improving. No where in that article was that inferred. Her thought was people are becoming more liberal and finally dropping all absolutes and living without restriction , Godly or otherwise.
        I am impressed that both of you have profiles. Most do not. Looking over hers, she believes herself to be a bit of a philosopher with no sign of acknowledging God in her life. That’s not to say she has no belief system but she doesn’t have one that is life changing.When someone has a real faith in Jesus Christ, you will see it all over them.
        If you look at my websites there will be no mistaking it.
        Looking at your site I see a talented illustrator but no Jesus there either which makes me wonder why you might be plugging for Claire as it seems fairly clear as to her mindset. I am not trying to see a devil behind every tree. Just wondering out loud.

      • Oh, Frank! Don’t be silly!

        Students are standing up for Heath Adam Ackley! Oh, it’s Wonderful! It shows hope for the future of Christianity, that even in such a place there is such courage and principle.

        Sorry Jack, when you replied to me I thought it was your post. Good people would wish to deny that, not wanting it to be thought they were responsible for the discourtesy of calling this man “she”.

      • That some students would stand up for Heather Ann’s confused self-image is precisely why her negative influence required removal from the classroom.

        I do, however, agree with you that there is courage at APU, i.e., the courage of APU’s administration insofar as they stood up against political correctness.

        Finally, Heather is no more a “man” than she is a kangaroo. One would think that to entertain her confusion by refusing to point out her obvious error would be the height of discourtesy toward her. It’s akin to agreeing with a person who insists they are safe while they stand on a railroad track, when you actually know a train is headed their way. That’s hardly courteous or loving. Real love is telling the truth, even (or especially) when the hearer doesn’t want to hear it.

      • Frank, You and Pastor Jack share the same views on “Clare.” “She” has a gender identity issue just like “Heath Adam Ackley.”

        Yet, both “Clare” and “Ackley” refuse to accept that transgenderism, like homosexuality, is an abomination in the eyes of the God.

        Yes, “Clare” invokes the name of the Lord, much like “Ackley,” the former professor of theology.

        But Christ Himself said: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”

        Both “Clare” and “Ackley” believe they can live their lives as they choose, in defiance of God, without eternal consequences. But the Lord warns: “I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”

  5. There seems to be more of a problem here then meets the eye. This woman was there 15 years. No one knew of her inclination? Did she spend those fifteen years indoctrinating students to the weird lifestyle? How is it that so many of the students supported her? Were they not taught properly. If there is an overwhelming consensus that evil has been done to this misguided lady, perhaps it is time to close the school. Certainly, someone should be over seeing the way these students are being taught. I have seen this in other schools like Liberty University. Too many people want to swing a little left. To be a little liberal or to dabble in a slightly left philosophy, perhaps to recruit students that would not come otherwise.
    I say, get a good Christian overseer in there.

    • You’re so right, Pastor. I’m reminded of the scripture, which warns: “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons…”

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