Several months ago, we covered how Dr. Eric Walsh, an African-American Christian Pastor known for his passionate sermons against homosexuality and who is also HIV/AIDS expert and a member of former President Obama’s Advisory Council for AIDS was fired from his job with the state of Georgia because of his sermons.
After a lengthy battle in court, the State of Georgia has agreed to settle with Dr. Walsh and pay him approximately a quarter million dollars for his trouble:
Today, First Liberty Institute announces they reached a settlement agreement between the state of Georgia and First Liberty’s client, Dr. Eric Walsh. The State of Georgia agreed to pay $225,000 to settle Dr. Walsh’s religious discrimination lawsuit.
“I am grateful this trial has finally ended,” Dr. Eric Walsh says. “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, senior counsel for First Liberty Institute and counsel for Dr. Walsh, says. “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.”
Dr. Walsh, a lay minister and former Georgia government employee, filed a lawsuit against the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) after evidenced surfaced that he had been fired because of his religious beliefs.
In May 2014, Walsh accepted a position as a District Health Director with the DPH. A week later, a DPH official asked him to submit copies of sermons he had previously preached as a lay minister with the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The day after Dr. Walsh provided his sermons to the state, the DPH terminated Dr. Walsh. In April 2016, First Liberty Institute, along with Atlanta law firm Parks, Chesin & Walbert, filed a lawsuit against the DPH on behalf of Dr. Walsh, charging the DPH with religious discrimination. (source)
Now there are still issues here- Dr. Walsh should be re-instated to his position, and a formal apology should be made on his behalf by the state of Georgia for what happened to him.
Cases like his are important to follow because they are both a witness to the times and an example to follow. Christianity is under severe attack in Europe and America, and while it may not be immediately visible in the form of violent persecution, it often takes the form first of “soft” persecution- lawsuits, job discrimination, and harassment. For many years, Christians in America were told that if they became “more American” they would be accepted by society.
However, that ideas has been shown to be a huge lie. The more Christians stopped practicing their beliefs the greater society went into decline. The damage is visible and the effects are palpable, and yet the persecution that was told would subside has increased.
It is good that Dr. Walsh received something, but it is not enough in terms of what he should receive in comparison with people who are non-Christians. For instance, would a Muslim simply receive a $225,000 settlement, or would he also get his job back, a formal letter of apology, and a salary increase? The answer is almost absolutely yes. If he was a Jew, he also would likely receive similar treatment. The same goes for pagans too.
What I am driving at here is that Christians need to fight back for what is their own, and they need to hold those who would attempt to bully and harass them for their faith accountable for their actions and in comparison with non-Christians in the same situation. This is not the time to settle, but only to demand the best. This is not about exploiting people- this is about protecting yourself and your faith against people who do not care about you and will look for opportunities to harm you. It is similar to dealing with the Muslims. When the Muslims attack, instead of running away you walk towards them faster and meet them head on. If they wish to fight, then you fight. If they wish to stand off, then you stand off.
Christians in America have had it easy for a long time because Christianity was such an important part of the society. As the changes of decades past began centuries ago are coming to fruition, Christians must adapt to the situation accordingly, and part of the adoption means boldly standing up for the Faith even if it means being the only person left standing.