Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Why is there always distance between FRC's statements and factual truth?

Tony Perkins
Hate group leader Tony Perkins has gone to bat for Eric Walsh (who had an offer of employment rescinded by the State of Georgia after his religious extremism became known). Perkins, head of Family Research Council, sent out an email titled: “Family Research Council Calls on Georgia Governor to Withdraw Demand for Pastor's Sermons and Docume <sic>.” Therein:
Family Research Council (FRC) today expressed outrage after the State of Georgia issued a legal demand that Dr. Eric Walsh, a lay pastor, hand over his sermons, sermon notes, and all pastoral documentation including his Bible. FRC launched a petition today at FRC.org/Walsh that calls on Governor Deal to “correct this egregious overreach of the state into church affairs.”
After two paragraphs of blather about religious liberty and the outrage, Perkins writes:
Dr. Eric Walsh was one of the nation's leading health administrators until being fired in 2014 by the Georgia Department of Public Health. A lay minister in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Walsh was fired after Georgia officials learned of his faith. Documents released by First Liberty include emails showing that Georgia officials assigned employees to examine his sermons on YouTube—sermons dealing with common Christian themes including creation, compassion, spiritual growth, the family, and Christian living. He was fired after this examination.

Walsh has filed a federal lawsuit against Georgia, alleging unlawful religious discrimination. …
Walsh now claims that he has been unable to obtain employment since May of 2014 because of his wrongful termination. Fired? Well, not exactly. Walsh, you see, was the public health director for the City of Pasadena, CA. He was placed on administrative leave on May 1, 2014 after the contents of sermons published online became known to the public. Walsh resigned on May 14, 2014 and then accepted employment by Georgia as a district health director. Walsh wasn't fired. The offer of employment was rescinded on May 16, 2014 after the state more fully learned of the circumstances surrounding his departure from Pasadena.

Eric Walsh
Within the sermons in question Walsh condemns gay people claiming that homosexuality comes from the pits of Hell. Walsh also attacked Muslims, Catholics and Darwin’s theory of evolution.

The Pasadena Star News reported that Walsh’s own church issued a statement distancing itself from his comments and pointed out that Walsh did not have official credentials with the SDA, although he served as an associate pastor at Altadena Seventh-day Adventist Church. When someone is too extreme for the Seventh Day Adventists, they are probably too extreme for public service. A selection of Walsh's best hits includes:
  • Oprah Winfrey is harboring the spirit of the anti-Christ;
  • The prophet Muhammad, founder of Islam, was influenced by Satan;
  • The devil set up Catholicism;
  • Acceptance of homosexuals is a satanic ploy to destroy America;
  • Rapper Jay Z is a disciple of Satan;
  • Single mothers are ruining their children;
  • Disney movies, which are loaded with violence, sex and magic, are a satanic ploy to split up families;
  • Darwin’s Theory of Evolution is a “satanic belief”;
  • The distribution of condoms to a public in need leads to higher AIDS rates;
  • The pope is the anti-Christ.
Walsh is represented by Kelly Shackelford's First Liberty Institute (who else?) which also claims incorrectly that Walsh was fired. It is an important distinction because the obligations of employers are quite different from the obligations of prospective employers. Not having started employment, Walsh was never an employee of the State of Georgia. I have not reviewed the paperwork but most offers are conditioned on further satisfactory reference checks and subject to material issues. Finding out that your potential health service employee is a bigot, a crackpot and an ignoramus who does not believe in Evolution certainly seems material. Walsh is claiming religious discrimination which makes the sermons and other materials fair game.

As you sow, so shall you reap.

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