This is God’s timing. Just this morning, a podcast telling my story was released.
After you hear Lina Abujamra’s Hope Podcast Episode 5, you may wonder where things stand in the Simpson saga right now, today.
So let me try to explain. Most private colleges and universities in America were founded as Christian institutions. But over time, they secularized as status, money, power became the lived priorities of the board.
Little did I know that when I took a job at Simpson University in January 2010, the forces of secularization had already pulled the board into significant mission drift.
To the shock of my thick layers of naivete, when the president of the school willfully violated Simpson policy by violating my contract, the board stood with the president while I myself was urged by a number of key constituents, please, to stay at the school while the SU faculty united to confront the wayward board. When approximately one year later, the Simpson board allowed my contracts to be breached yet again, a number of key constituents urged me this time to file a lawsuit.
After praying, seeking counsel, and studying I Corinthians 6, my husband and I decided that suing was the right course of action. If you heard all the details, perhaps you would agree with our decision.
Soon after I filed a lawsuit against Simpson University on October 2, 2012, Simpson’s insurance lawyer appealed to Religious Defenses in attempt to get my case thrown out of court. The irony of this story is that Simpson tried to use its religious freedom to establish Simpson’s “right” not to exercise SU’s religion.
Usually it’s the plaintiff who refuses to submit to religious policies. But in my case, Simpson is the party who is choosing to rely on their secular insurance company as opposed to their own religious grievance policy.
Although Simpson’s policy is to exercise Matthew 18:15-17, Simpson’s Chief Academic Office (the Provost) and Simpson’s H.R. Director both said that Matthew 18:15-17 “applies to the church,” and since “Simpson is not a church,” they said, then Matthew 18:15-17 does not apply to the SU workplace.
On the one hand, the religious corporation said the religious policy does not apply to the religious workplace. But Simpson’s lawyer, on the other hand, said that Simpson can appeal to Religious Defenses. To appeal to Religious Defenses means that Simpson is ruled by religion, not the courts.
But in this case, Simpson has been trying to not be ruled either by religion or the courts.
At the same time, Simpson University’s #1 stated Value is “The Supremacy of Jesus Christ.” Yet heeding the words of Christ in Matthew 18:15-17 is something that Simpson officials refuse to do.
No one with power in the religious corporation expressed any willingness to stand up for what is right in truth. As a result, I simply had no venue in Simpson University for voicing a response to Simpson’s false accusations.
But God gave me a venue through prayer to plead my cause to Him.
By God’s grace, the Lord positioned me to become my own lawyer and stand in the wooden courtroom in Sacramento at the Third District Court Of Appeal before three Justices (Blease, Butz, and Renner) and argue my case myself.
I am not a lawyer, but I stood up and argued as a very prepared non-lawyer who bet on God and counted on God’s power to be perfected in my vulnerable weakness.
Let me try to say this in gospel language: In a way, when Simpson breached my contract and hid their violations, Simpson University killed its own contracts; therefore both of my Simpson contracts sat there dead. But after I appealed, God resurrected them.
I will close on a personal note. Going through this trial of being in such conflict with a secularizing school is something God is using to transform me. It has grown my faith because I believe that God Who delivered King David through every tribulation will, likewise, in due time, deliver me.
Psalm 34, a Psalm of David:
1 I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2 My soul will make its boast in the Lord;
The humble will hear it and rejoice.
3 O magnify the Lord with me,
And let us exalt His name together.
4 I sought the Lord, and He answered me,
And delivered me from all my fears.
5 They looked to Him and were radiant,
And their faces will never be ashamed.
6 This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
And saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him,
And rescues them.
8 O taste and see that the Lord is good;
How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
9 O fear the Lord, you His saints;
For to those who fear Him there is no want.
10 The young lions do lack and suffer hunger;
But they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing.
11 Come, you children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12 Who is the man who desires life
And loves length of days that he may see good?
13 Keep your tongue from evil
And your lips from speaking deceit.
14 Depart from evil and do good;
Seek peace and pursue it.
15 The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous
And His ears are open to their cry.
16 The face of the Lord is against evildoers,
To cut off the memory of them from the earth.
17 The righteous cry, and the Lord hears
And delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are [d]crushed in spirit.
19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the Lord delivers him out of them all.
20 He keeps all his bones,
Not one of them is broken.
21 Evil shall slay the wicked,
And those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
22 The Lord redeems the soul of His servants,
And none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned.