OneNewsNow.com is reporting that Brandon Jenkins was considered a “very strong candidate” for the program, had scored the maximum number of points possible during his observation and met all other standards, and yet he was denied admittance to the program.
As it turned out, his rejection hinged on the answer he gave to one simple question during the interview process. When asked, “What is the most important thing to you?” Jenkins answered simply, “My God.”
Adrienne Dougherty, director of the college’s program bluntly explained to the stunned applicant: “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. We have many patients who come to us for treatment from many different religions and some who believe in nothing at all.”
She added: “If you interview in the future, you may want to leave your thoughts and beliefs out of the interview process.”
Jenkins immediately sought a remedy for this blatant act of discrimination from college officials but got nowhere. He finally sought assistance from attorney’s from the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) who filed a lawsuit today in federal court in the district of Maryland in Baltimore on Jenkins’ behalf.
The ACLJ was forced to pursue further legal action when the college defended its discriminatory actions, saying that Dougherty’s feedback was acceptable.
“Stated bluntly, that is not bad advice,” CCBC officials said about the warning to Jenkins not to wear his faith on his sleeve if he wanted a career in radiation therapy.
The school insisted that because Jenkins said during the interview that he felt led into the field by God, that this was not the kind of answer they were looking for.
“Candidates who describe thoughtful considerations about what the candidate will contribute as an individual to patients and the advancement of care make far better therapists that those who are told by others [God] to pursue the field,” CCBC explained. “[T]he fact is that in any secular job or program interview, it is better to have a concrete reason for wanting to undertake the training at hand than to say only that God directed one to do it.”
The school intends to present this explanation as a defense in the courtroom. They are also planning to say that Jenkins was refused for other reasons, such as that other applicants had higher grade point averages. They may also raise the issue of a 10 year-old criminal offense against Jenkins even though they told him during the interview process that it would not affect their decision.
Jenkin’s attorneys intend to argue that both the reasoning and the process behind CCBC’s refusal to admit him into the program not only encroaches upon his constitutional right to freedom of religion, but to his free-speech rights as well.
“The complaint requests the court to declare that the actions taken by CCBC officials violated Brandon’s First Amendment rights and that defendants be prohibited from further retaliating and/or discriminating against Brandon based on his religious views and/or his expressions thereof,” says ACLJ attorney Abby Southerland. “Further, the suit requests an injunction requiring CCBC to admit Brandon to the Radiation Therapy Program.”
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