WOWT, the NBC affiliate in Omaha, and Kevin Abourezk of the Lincoln Journal-Star are reporting that Barbara Baier, an openly gay member of the Lincoln Board of Education, wants NU to fire assistant football coach Ron Brown for his public comments against an Omaha proposal (subsequently passed) to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation. Below, the Journal-Star:
"When some people seek to camouflage their hatred under the cloak of their faith, their professed religious beliefs should not shield them from the consequences of their actions," Barbara Baier wrote in a letter to NU leaders.On Friday, NU Chancellor Ron Perlman said:
Baier said she decided to send the letter out of concern for gay NU athletes who may fear Brown's beliefs that homosexuality is a sin threaten their well-being. She said her own 12-year-old son is considering attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, but that she isn't encouraging it right now. She said she was expressing her opinions as a private individual and not as a Lincoln school board member.
"I would like to see them go and seriously change the culture in their athletics program across the board and make sure that the university is a welcoming place for people of all backgrounds, including the gay and lesbian community," she said. "That's going to take some work."
"I am personally offended by the comments of Coach Brown with regard to gays and lesbians," Perlman said Friday. "Whether intended to do so or not, they reflect poorly on the university, on our athletic programs, and I am certain they cause pain and discomfort among a valued and productive segment of our community."Perlman also said Brown had the right to express his personal views and hadn't done anything to warrant his dismissal.
The Omaha World-Herald, which is never amused when persons other than its editorial writers — especially persons from Stinkin' Lincoln — tell the city council how to run Omaha, liberally quoted both Perlman's and Baier's sharp disapproval of Brown:
Right-wing talk radio station KLIN in Lincoln aired a puffball interview with Brown here (unearthed by The Friendly Atheist) in which Brown responded to Outsports' Cyd Ziegler's 3/22/2012 Huffington Post column calling for Brown to be fired."Unless and until I have evidence that coach Brown has engaged in conduct beyond speech that many of us find offensive, I do not intend to do more than seek to assure that he speaks only for himself and to disassociate myself and this university from his position," Perlman said."Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever," he [Brown]said Friday. "I have no fear of any man or any thing."Baier said she saw Brown speak at a Champions Club event last fall. She said he made clear his UNL connection and spoke in terms of faith as he attacked gay and transgender individuals and discussed a "mysterious but undefined 'homosexual agenda.'""At the conclusion of the speech, I was deeply troubled and, as a person of the attacked minority group, I felt psychologically and socially threatened, so I left the event," she said.Perlman said he was sorry Baier felt intimidated, but he noted it was not a university event. He said Brown's views on gay rights do not reflect the views of most of the UNL community.
In the radio interview, Brown expressed his alarm that some parents are choosing gender neutral names like "Stacy" or "Pat" and railed against the ACLU and Planned Parenthood.