A now-former Texas chaplain has filed a lawsuit against the Austin Fire Department after he was unceremoniously booted from his volunteer position for sharing his Christian beliefs on sexuality on his personal blog.
Dr. Andrew Fox told CBN’s Faithwire it was “shocking” to learn he was fired from the job he’d held for eight years simply because he wrote on his private blog that he sees allowing transgender women — that is, males who claim to be females — to compete on women’s sports teams as an affront to female athletes.
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“It was shocking and quite angering,” he said. “And the way that it was done as well was very unprofessional. In fact, my eight years at the Austin Fire Department have been rewarded and awarded various times by a previous chief for acts of service in providing pastoral care and spiritual counsel for the uniformed personnel, the civilian personnel, and their families — indiscriminately.”
“I was shocked and appalled by what happened all of the sudden,” the chaplain added.
Born in Great Britain, Fox immigrated to the United States 23 years ago, leaving the small parish he was pastoring in the southwest part of England to pursue ministry opportunities with a religious worker’s visa. Ultimately, he and his family became a U.S. citizens.
Watch our full conversation with Dr. Fox:
Fox said he never imagined he would find himself fighting for his religious freedom in the U.S.
“You know, one of the attractions of moving to the United States is you have an outside perspective, being raised in Great Britain for the first 31 years of my life,” he said. “The country that welcomed me in through due process is not the same country that I find myself living in today, in the environment that we live in. I do not think it is right for any government agency or entity to dictate to its citizens their beliefs, their thoughts, their concepts, their ideas. That is a violation.”
Hal Frampton, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing Fox, said government “shouldn’t be in the business of canceling people, of terminating them from positions, of punishing them for simply exercising their right to express themselves.”
“This is something that should concern all Americans — whatever your beliefs,” he continued. “If the government can be in the business of picking and choosing which views are acceptable, which religions are acceptable, that threatens all of our freedoms, and that’s why we are proud to represent Dr. Fox and to have filed the case that we filed.”
Fox, for his part, reiterated the fact that — even though he sees this as a clear violation of his First Amendment rights — he kept his blog intentionally separate from his work as a chaplain with the Austin Fire Department.
“The two are unrelated and unconnected,” he said. “And so, practically speaking, to bring the two together is not something that I did. So, for instance, if I was on a scene or visiting with a firefighter, how they label themselves in any way — religion or any other expression of labeling — was not something I would inquire about but I would immediately respond to their request for pastoral guidance and for spiritual help, regardless of how they identified.”
“So for this to be turned around on me was quite remarkable,” Fox explained.
You can learn more about Fox’s lawsuit by visiting the ADF website.
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