A Texas college professor claims he was fired after university leaders found his teachings too “religious.”
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Dr. Johnson Varkey and his attorneys at First Liberty Institute recently sent a letter to St. Philip’s College in San Antonio, Texas, telling school officials it was illegal and improper to terminate him.
As a biology professor for the past 20 years, Varkey consistently taught the same facts about the human reproductive system without any problems. But he told CBN’s Faithwire that recently changed when he received a notice of dismissal.
“I was surprised and I was shocked, because, you know, never expected for such a letter from, or such an email from, the school because I’ve been teaching that for that school for the last 20 years and without any complaints,” he said.
Varkey believes his lessons on human biology and sex being determined by chromosomes X and Y sparked complaints leading to his dismissal.
Watch the professor explain:
“On the 12th of January, I received an email from the vice president of the department of the school that they are doing an ethic violation investigation on me, so I responded to his email and asked him, ‘What are the complaints?'” Varkey said. “So, what he said was the human resources will contact me.”
The professor said, although he asked about complaints, he received no response from HR and didn’t get a chance to defend himself before his firing.
“When I got the letter of termination, what the VP mentioned was that some of the complaints were offensive to the homosexuals and transgender,” he said. “So, I presume … that, very possibly, it is based on a human reproductive system, which I taught, which was in November.”
First Liberty attorney Keisha Russell believes Varkey’s case likely has much to do with current cultural trends.
“When I saw the termination letter, and I see that the university is accusing him of religious preaching, I think that what they don’t understand is, even if he was, they still can’t fire him for saying something that he believes to be true,” she said.
Russell said her client’s speech was based on his sincerely-held beliefs and ethical integrity — and is protected under the First Amendment. Furthermore, she believes Varkey’s views on biology and other related issues are backed by science.
“We just think it’s a shame that they would fire one of their long-term professors for teaching what he’s always taught,” she said.
A representative for the Alamo Colleges District told CBN News it does not comment on personnel matters or pending or threatened litigation. As for Varkey, he’s hoping to successfully convince St. Philip’s college to overturn his dismissal. So far, the college hasn’t responded to the letter.
“Varkey obviously wants to be reinstated, and he wants his job back, and his record cleared because he didn’t do anything wrong,” Russell said.
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