Anti-Christian bigotry is pervasive in government and in our culture. One man, Andrew Fox, has felt its lash.
A #Christian schoolgirl was prevented from having her #Bible in the classroom, couldn’t mention her faith or even draw a picture of #Jesus. This bigotry against Christian students has gone too far. Sign & RT our petition today to defend religious liberty. https://t.co/hHKLsgkKKe pic.twitter.com/vDDEgDMkf1
— Jay Sekulow (@JaySekulow) December 12, 2018
Fox: When the alarm sounds, they transform into Marvel superheroes. They’re out the door in a flash, often the first on the scene of car crashes, medical emergencies, and of course, fires. But after the adrenaline rush of saving a life subsides, they are men and women who need counsel, prayer, and a listening ear as they survive in the high-stress, hazardous profession of firefighting.
In times of crisis, firefighters are trained to rescue and mitigate loss of life. But who responds to their cries for help?
I started the chaplaincy program at the Austin Fire Department so that those who respond to crises for a living would have someone to call when they faced difficulty of their own. Then it was my turn to slide into action.
I’m an ordained minister who served as the city’s lead chaplain in a volunteer capacity for eight years, providing support to the 1,400 uniformed and civilian members of Austin’s fire department. My role was to show up for them—anytime, anywhere: a 24-7 resource firefighters could call upon when they were struggling.
During Austin’s big ice storm last year, I was called to a devastating scene where a family, trying to keep warm, accidentally caught their house on fire. As the firefighters pulled bodies out of the burning house, I pulled coverings over the bodies, shielding their faces from prying eyes and cameras. After the fire crews cleaned the scene, I spent time debriefing with them, praying with some, and talking to others who came to me afterward.
The stress firefighters experience can negatively affect their physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing, and I was also called to the scene of firefighter deaths — tragically, some in the line of duty and some by their own hand. During these times of grief, I was there for the families, helping them walk through this unimaginable loss.
Unfortunately, I’m writing in the past tense because I’m no longer a chaplain for the Austin Fire Department. I was fired from my volunteer role because I shared my religious views on my personal blog — views which city officials could not tolerate. The controversial viewpoint that extinguished my career? Writing about my religious and commonsense view that men and women are biologically different, and men should not compete on women’s sports teams.
When city officials demanded that I recant and apologize for the harm my blog post allegedly caused, I explained that my intent was to foster discussion, not cause offense. And I apologized if anyone was offended. I could not, however, recant my beliefs or apologize for my faith…
I am not the first to face this injustice, but I am speaking out because I’d like to be the last. Who gets to decide what views are acceptable and which ones aren’t on someone’s personal blog? Or will government officials simply start accepting only those who remain completely silent about their faith, political views, or deeply held beliefs?
That is not the America I immigrated to 23 years ago. No matter your opinion 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.