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How One College Student Challenged Cancel Culture and Stood Up for His Beliefs

Alliance Defending Freedom
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Jack Denton knew his First Amendment rights had been violated and reached out to Alliance Defending Freedom for help.

Jack Denton had to overcome a phobia when he joined Florida State University’s Flying High Circus as an FSU freshman—he was unexpectedly assigned to the high wire.

“Honestly, I didn’t want to do it,” he admits. “I had a fear of heights that I got over pretty quick, because I had to.”

In the newest issue of Faith & Justice magazine, Alliance Defending Freedom writer Chris Potts recounts how that challenge would prove considerably easier to navigate than the tightrope of campus cancel culture.

Jack came to FSU from North Carolina, bringing along a strong interest in politics. He signed on as a political science major, then ran for the Student Senate his first semester. He won and went on to serve three full terms.

He also joined the Catholic Student Union, a campus organization that offered social activities and spiritual support to young people. An only child, he cherished the deep bonds that formed with other men whom he came to consider brothers.

He was a college senior and president of the Senate when a text came over his phone, part of a group chat among CSU members. The texter was urging students to offer financial support for controversial political activist groups like Black Lives Matter and the ACLU.

Jack sent texts of his own, cautioning his CSU friends about the “grave evils” promoted by these activist organizations. He knew the groups supported abortion, same-sex marriage, and communism—ideas that clearly contradicted Catholic teaching.

A storm erupted.

Jack had assumed his texts would be kept within the CSU community. But they were shared on the Internet, along with a petition calling for his resignation or removal from the Senate. In a seven-hour Senate meeting a few days later, more than a hundred students lined up to speak—most of them hurling angry comments in what one friend called a “virtual firing squad.”

Soon after, the Student Senate voted for Jack’s removal as president because of his religious views.

Jack knew his First Amendment rights had been violated and reached out to Alliance Defending Freedom for help.

Read the rest of Jack’s story in the latest issue of Faith & Justice magazine.

In this issue, you’ll also read:

  • How ADF is defending free speech from the classroom to the boardroom
  • How one young mother learned that women don’t need abortion to be successful
  • A Q&A with longtime client Barronelle Stutzman


Alliance Defending Freedom
Alliance Defending Freedom
Non-profit organization
ADF is the world's largest legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, the sanctity of life, marriage and family, and parental rights.