Former Fire Dept Chaplain Claims US Has 'Drastically Changed' After Being Let Go Over Religious Beliefs
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A former Texas fire chaplain has filed a lawsuit against the Austin Fire Department (AFD) claiming he was terminated for sharing his religious beliefs on his personal and private blog.
Dr. Andrew Fox says he was fired from his position because he wrote a personal blog post objecting to men competing in women's sports.
"I argued that someone born a man transitioning to be a woman, competing against women in athletics is an attack..is an affront on women," Fox told Fox News's Tucker Carlson. "[It] ruins everything they have been working for."
Dr. Fox is an ordained minister who helped start Austin's fire chaplaincy program and served as its lead chaplain "faithfully serving the spiritual needs of Austin's firefighters," according to the lawsuit filed by ADF.
Last June, he shared his belief that men should not compete on women's sports teams due to biological differences.
Fox said he was dismissed from the department after an unknown number of individuals at the fire department "anonymously complained" about the nature of his posts.
"I was asked to recant on those views and then write a letter of apology for those views, and, of course, I did not do that," he explained.
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) says the city of Austin and Fire Chief Joel G. Baker violated Fox's First Amendment right to free speech and exercise of religion and violated the Texas Constitution.
"Everyone should be able to speak freely without fear of the government coming after you just because you expressed a view they disagree with," said ADF Senior Counsel Ryan Bangert.
"Dr. Fox served Austin's fire department—without pay—for eight years with excellence and integrity, treating everyone equally, including those in the LGBT community. But none of that mattered to city officials when he shared one opinion on his personal blog that they didn't like," he continued.
"No matter your personal view on whether men should be allowed to compete on women's sports teams, it should deeply concern every American that the government can fire someone for expressing it," Bangert added.
Fox told Fox News the U.S. has "drastically changed" since he moved to the country more than two decades ago.
"But the country I moved to 23 years ago is not the country that I'm living in right now," he said. "So, in that time that I've lived here, becoming a citizen, it has drastically changed, and that is very surprising to me as a chaplain serving those that serve their community."
"Social agendas should never trump America's fundamental civil rights under the U.S. Constitution," Bangert said. "Americans should never be forced to apologize and recant for stating those beliefs in public."
The AFD released a statement to CBN News regarding the lawsuit.
"The Austin Fire Department appreciates Dr. Fox's service as a volunteer chaplain," it read. "However, we do not expound on matters involving personnel and/or those affiliated with our department in an official capacity."
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