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Thread: Pastor Prevails After State Officials Force Him To Turn Over Sermons

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    Veteran Member aboutenough's Avatar
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    Pastor Prevails After State Officials Force Him To Turn Over Sermons

    The state of Georgia agreed to pay $225,000 to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit, after state officials dismissed an employee because of sermons hegave in his capacity as a lay minister.
    Dr. Eric Walsh, a Seventh-Day Adventist minister and public health professional, was hired for a management position at the Georgia Department of Health in 2014. Shortly after he was hired, he was asked to turn over copies of sermons he had given to his congregation, where he served after business hours. He was dismissed after the review.
    "I am grateful this trial has finally ended," Walsh said. "It's been a long, difficult journey, but it's worth it to have my name cleared and to ensure that all Georgia government employees know they have religious liberty."
    "This is a clear and resounding victory for religious freedom," Jeremy Dys, of First Liberty Institute and counsel for Walsh, said. "We always knew the law was on our side, so we are pleased the State of Georgia agreed to settle this case and clear Dr. Walsh's good name."
    One week after he was hired, a DPH human resources official sent an email to colleagues soliciting help in reviewing Walsh's sermons, many of which were available on YouTube. The sermons, though largely in accordance with historic Christian belief, contain controversial statements concerning social and cultural controversies like homosexuality, Some of those sermons implicate his work as a public health official. He also polemicized against Islam, Catholicism and evolution.

    Walsh brought a claim against the DPH with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging religious discrimination. Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits the government from dismissing employees because of their religious beliefs. Those protections are stronger when the conduct in question concerns a minister acting in his official capacity outside the workplace. He also alleges several constitutional violations. EEOC approved the suit.
    The case concluded with Georgia's decision to settle.
    https://politistick.com/victory-chri...ination-case/#
    Looks like an employer can't use a Pastors sermons to fire him for his beliefs. Religious freedom is finally winning in the courts. No one should fear losing their job because of their religious beliefs, this ruling proves this.

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    Anarquistador StanStill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aboutenough View Post
    The state of Georgia agreed to pay $225,000 to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit, after state officials dismissed an employee because of sermons hegave in his capacity as a lay minister.
    Dr. Eric Walsh, a Seventh-Day Adventist minister and public health professional, was hired for a management position at the Georgia Department of Health in 2014. Shortly after he was hired, he was asked to turn over copies of sermons he had given to his congregation, where he served after business hours. He was dismissed after the review.
    "I am grateful this trial has finally ended," Walsh said. "It's been a long, difficult journey, but it's worth it to have my name cleared and to ensure that all Georgia government employees know they have religious liberty."
    "This is a clear and resounding victory for religious freedom," Jeremy Dys, of First Liberty Institute and counsel for Walsh, said. "We always knew the law was on our side, so we are pleased the State of Georgia agreed to settle this case and clear Dr. Walsh's good name."
    One week after he was hired, a DPH human resources official sent an email to colleagues soliciting help in reviewing Walsh's sermons, many of which were available on YouTube. The sermons, though largely in accordance with historic Christian belief, contain controversial statements concerning social and cultural controversies like homosexuality, Some of those sermons implicate his work as a public health official. He also polemicized against Islam, Catholicism and evolution.

    Walsh brought a claim against the DPH with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging religious discrimination. Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits the government from dismissing employees because of their religious beliefs. Those protections are stronger when the conduct in question concerns a minister acting in his official capacity outside the workplace. He also alleges several constitutional violations. EEOC approved the suit.
    The case concluded with Georgia's decision to settle.
    https://politistick.com/victory-chri...ination-case/#
    Looks like an employer can't use a Pastors sermons to fire him for his beliefs. Religious freedom is finally winning in the courts. No one should fear losing their job because of their religious beliefs, this ruling proves this.
    Do you think the same protection should be extended to a state employee who goes on a tirade mocking religious people, other races, the handicapped, etc., even when doing so calls into question his ability to fairly treat all the constituents he serves?

    After all, free speech is guaranteed in the same amendment as religious freedom

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    Veteran Member aboutenough's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StanStill View Post
    Do you think the same protection should be extended to a state employee who goes on a tirade mocking religious people, other races, the handicapped, etc., even when doing so calls into question his ability to fairly treat all the constituents he serves?

    After all, free speech is guaranteed in the same amendment as religious freedom
    I think the real issue here is this, does a business you work for have the right to fire you for what you do when your not on their clock. In some cases employers do have rules how they expect you to act as an employee represenative when you are off work. Some people have been fired for what they said on Facebook that caused concern. In this case the company went thru this part time pastors sermons and determined what he said was against company policy and fired him. The only problem with that is Pastors preach the gospel and its not against the law to do that. Churches are protected groups, non profit organization. The real question is, can an employer fire a part time preacher for what he says from the pulpit? Looks like they can't
    Last edited by aboutenough; 16th May 2017 at 12:07 PM.

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    Anarquistador StanStill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aboutenough View Post
    I think the real issue here is this, does a business you work for have the right to fire you for what you do when your not on their clock. In some cases employers do have rules how they expect you to act as an employee represenative when you are off work. Some people have been fired for what they said on Facebook that caused concern. In this case the company went thru this part time pastors sermons and determined what he said was against company policy and fired him. The only problem with that is Pastors preach the gospel and its not against the law to do that. Churches are protected groups, non profit organization. The real question is, can an employer fire a part time preacher for what he says from the pulpit? Looks like they can't
    Um, not quite. The "business" he worked for was the Georgia Department of Health.

    Dr. Eric Walsh, a Seventh-Day Adventist minister and public health professional, was hired for a management position at the Georgia Department of Health in 2014. Shortly after he was hired, he was asked to turn over copies of sermons he had given to his congregation, where he served after business hours. He was dismissed after the review.
    So back to my question. He said things about homosexuality and other religions that his superiors thought suggest he wouldn't be able to fairly serve all constituents with equal protection. Does the state have the right to fire someone who says degrading or insulting things about Christians, other races, etc? You are arguing that the state should not be able to fire him for things he says after hours because it is his first amendment right to do so—is that correct?

    I would think that if it was a private business, he would be a lot more likely to be S.O.L. Businesses can certainly fire people for saying things after hours that they decide reflect poorly on the company.
    Thanks from KnotaFrayed and Blues63

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    Veteran Member aboutenough's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StanStill View Post
    Um, not quite. The "business" he worked for was the Georgia Department of Health.



    So back to my question. He said things about homosexuality and other religions that his superiors thought suggest he wouldn't be able to fairly serve all constituents with equal protection. Does the state have the right to fire someone who says degrading or insulting things about Christians, other races, etc? You are arguing that the state should not be able to fire him for things he says after hours because it is his first amendment right to do so—is that correct?

    I would think that if it was a private business, he would be a lot more likely to be S.O.L. Businesses can certainly fire people for saying things after hours that they decide reflect poorly on the company.
    This persons job was to preach the Gospel as Pastor on Sundays and that is what he did. The people he worked for tried to make a case where he doesn't have the right to
    keep his job because of what he preached on Sundays. Separation of Church and State keeps the government from trying to dictate what the church should say or not say. Apparently the court agreed the government (employer) he worked for should not be firing him for what he preached. The day that Government is allowed to determine what we can speak or hear in our churches the establishment clause is toast.

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    Anarquistador StanStill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aboutenough View Post
    This persons job was to preach the Gospel as Pastor on Sundays and that is what he did. The people he worked for tried to make a case where he doesn't have the right to
    keep his job because of what he preached on Sundays. Separation of Church and State keeps the government from trying to dictate what the church should say or not say. Apparently the court agreed the government (employer) he worked for should not be firing him for what he preached. The day that Government is allowed to determine what we can speak or hear in our churches the establishment clause is toast.
    So you agree that a Department of Health employee who says awful things about Christians and/or other races online or in public, or anything else that might look like a government official can't treat all constituents fairly, he should be protected from punishment by the first amendment?

    Yes or no.
    Last edited by StanStill; 16th May 2017 at 12:35 PM.

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    Veteran Member TNVolunteer73's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StanStill View Post
    So you agree that a Department of Health employee who says awful things about Christians and/or other races online or in public, or anything else that might look like a government official can't treat all constituents fairly, he should be protected from punishment by the first amendment?

    Yes or no.
    Are you saying Eric holder could not treat constituants fairly, He made very racial comments and even carried a reminder of his commitment to his Racist mindset in his pocket.

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    Spock of Vulcan Ian Jeffrey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aboutenough View Post
    Churches are protected groups, non profit organization.
    A church's status as a non-profit organization is irrelevant.

    Quote Originally Posted by aboutenough View Post
    The real question is, can an employer fire a part time preacher for what he says from the pulpit? Looks like they can't.
    Since the state actually settled, no legal question was determined, or will be, based on this case.
    Thanks from KnotaFrayed

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    Spock of Vulcan Ian Jeffrey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StanStill View Post
    He said things about homosexuality and other religions that his superiors thought suggest he wouldn't be able to fairly serve all constituents with equal protection.
    The problem DPH had is that while it could not really demonstrate such unfairness would result, since it actually did not result during his short tenure, it did not have a solid basis on which to fire him. He was not (AFAIK) representing his views as being those of the state, or that he acted or spoke with the DPH imprimatur.

    That said, I have not looked up the YouTube videos of his sermons, so I do not really know what he said.

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    Spock of Vulcan Ian Jeffrey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aboutenough View Post
    Apparently the court agreed the government (employer) he worked for should not be firing him for what he preached.
    Actually, no. The government settled the case, so the court did not determine anything.
    Thanks from jacobfitcher and KnotaFrayed

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