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Fired Biology Professor Fights Back and Wins, Has a Message For Fellow Christians

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A Texas college professor who said he was fired after university leaders reportedly found his teachings too “religious” has been reinstated to his position more than a year after being terminated.

Listen to them on the latest episode of “Quick Start”

Dr. Johnson Varkey and his attorneys at First Liberty Institute recently announced Varkey had won his adjunct professorial job back at St. Philip’s College in San Antonio, Texas, after being fired in 2023 “for teaching standard principles about human biology and reproduction.”

The announcement comes after a “favorable settlement” was reached with the Alamo Community College District; the school system voluntarily reinstated Varkey.

“I was so excited,” the professor told CBN News after the announcement. “And thank the Lord for that outcome.”

Varkey said he’s grateful to First Liberty and to the Lord for helping him get back his position.

“I am excited to go back and teach,” he said.

Watch Varkey share his story:

As CBN News previously reported, a biology professor for the past 20 years, Varkey consistently taught the same facts about the human reproductive system without any problems. But that changed last year, 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.

“On the 12th of January [of 2023], 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 [2022].”

Varkey and his attorney believe he was potentially unfairly targeted by some who disagreed with his views or outside work as a pastor.

First Liberty filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), but before receiving an official response, St. Philip’s College issued the reinstatement.

Kayla Toney, associate Counsel at First Liberty Institute, told CBN News her legal firm was initially “outraged” after initially finding out about Varkey’s plight, noting the fact his “speech had been targeted” was deeply concerning.

“There were many First Amendment violations that we saw right away, first his religious exercise,” Toney said. “He is a committed Christian; he’s also a pastor in addition to his role as a biology professor. So, we think there was some religious targeting by students who knew he was a pastor and thought they could accuse him of something like religious preaching.”

The attorney said her client was “simply teaching straight from the textbook and following those lesson plans that he had used for 19 years.”

Beyond that, Toney cited academic freedom concerns at the center of the case, arguing professors like Varkey should be free to teach from textbooks without fear of reprisal.

“We also saw some due process concerns that Dr. Barkey never had the opportunity to meet with the students who were upset, or learn what their complaints were, or have a conversation, even with his supervisor, which was part of the college’s own procedures for a complaint or a termination,” she said.

Varkey could return to the classroom as soon as this spring, with Toney noting the EEOC complaint will be dismissed as part of the settlement pending he is able to teach again “as planned.”

The professor said he hopes his successful quest to fight for his job will inspire other Christians who might face similar issues and barriers.

“I would say, don’t quit, because there are people very supportive just like First Liberty,” he said, urging people to be brave and take a stand. “Stand for the truth.”

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About The Author

Billy Hallowell writes for CBN's He has been working in journalism and media for more than a decade. His writings have appeared in CBN News, Faithwire, Deseret News, TheBlaze, Human Events, Mediaite, PureFlix, and Fox News, among other outlets. He is the author of several books, including Playing with Fire: A Modern Investigation Into Demons, Exorcism, and Ghosts Hallowell has a B.A. in journalism and broadcasting from the College of Mount Saint Vincent in Riverdale, New York and an M.S. in social research from Hunter College in Manhattan, New York.