July 25, 2012
Liberty Counsel Warns School Board Not to Violate Pastor's Free Speech
Miami, FL – Liberty Counsel has sent a letter to the Miami-Dade County School Superintendent stating that any effort to rescind a facilities usage lease to a church because of the pastor’s sermon on homosexuality would violate the First Amendment.
Miami-Dade County Public Schools is “reviewing” its lease to Impact Miami Church after Pastor Jack Hakimian preached the Biblical position on homosexuality. The school district superintendent maintains that the sermon allegedly violates the district’s antibullying and nondiscrimination policy. However, in the sermon in question, Pastor Hakimian explicitly denounces bullying and teaches to respect all people:
“The reason why I am dealing with [homosexuality] so much is because there is an aggressive approach by…gay theologians that says the Bible never spoke about homosexuality in a way that contemporary Christians understand it. It’s all over – it’s on the Youtube, its on CNN, and its on 60 Minutes. They are not just saying, “accept us” – and I believe we should protect, and not bully, and treat all people with dignity and respect – but they are going beyond and above to change the very meaning of Scripture.”
The nondiscrimination and antibullying policies of the Miami-Dade School Board are not applicable to the situation at hand. Pastor Hakimian and the church have violated no law or policy. The district cannot discriminate on the basis of his Biblically sound viewpoint. Any attempt by the school board to modify, change, or revoke the lease agreement would be unconstitutional.
“The district must respect the First Amendment rights of Pastor Hakimian and the church,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel.
Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.
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