Gov. Nathan Deal’s Georgia: “Pastors, Turn Over Your Sermon Notes.”

By October 27, 2016Georgia
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The witch hunt against people of faith in Georgia is on the rise. Remember Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran? He was fired by the City of Atlanta for writing a book on the Biblical view of marriage on his own time (read here, here, and here). In 2014, Dr. Eric Walsh accepted a job in Georgia as a district health director with the Georgia Department of Public Health (GPH). However, within a week of being hired, the GPH abruptly fired Dr. Walsh for his religious beliefs (read here and here).

You see, not only is Dr. Walsh a public health expert; he is also a lay minister. According to First Liberty Institute, who filed an anti-discrimination lawsuit in 2014 against the State of Georgia on behalf of Dr. Walsh, shortly after hiring Walsh, “state officials requested copies of his sermons and searched online for others. His sermon topics included following Christ, having compassion on the poor, health, marriage, sexuality, world religions, science, creationism, and more.”  Dr. Walsh was not fired for anything he said or did at work. Dr. Walsh was fired because of what he said outside of work. 

Jeremy Dys, Senior Counsel for First Liberty, said: “If the government is allowed to fire someone over what he said in his sermons, then they can come after any of us for our beliefs on anything. We must ensure every American has the right to talk about their faith at church without getting fired or being barred from public service.” Read First Liberty Institute’s background on the case here.

Fast forward to today.  CWA of Georgia State Director Tanya Ditty attended a press conference (read CWA press release) yesterday at the Georgia State Capitol and listened as First Liberty Institute release this chilling information in their ongoing lawsuit against the State of Georgia, “the State of Georgia served a Request for Production of Documents on Dr. Walsh, which requires Dr. Walsh to surrender copies of all his sermon notes and transcripts.”  In this blatant government overreach by the State Attorney General’s office, the State gave no date limit or specific sermon topic to this request. What this means is that Dr. Walsh must turn over any and all sermon notes, whether written or typed, with no specific time period given. Any notes in Dr. Walsh’s Bible(s), journals, PowerPoint presentations, or even scribbled on a notepad is fair game for the Attorney General’s office.

This should concern all Georgians!  No one in Georgia should be fired from their job over their religious beliefs or over something they said in their church. Should a public school teacher lose his or her job simply because they teach a Sunday school class?  Should employees who work at the State Capitol be fired because they choose to lead a Bible study in their own home? Should an employee with the Department of Juvenile Justice be fired because they work with at-risk youth through a church-sponsored program? Should a receptionist at any state agency be fired for teaching ESL at their church?  According to the State of Georgia, yes they can.

Take Action Today!
Contact Gov. Nathan Deal and urge him to do the following:

  1. Take whatever action is necessary to settle Dr. Walsh’s case.
  2. Instruct the Attorney General not to demand sermon notes.

Phone: 404-656-1776 | Online contact form

Contact the State Attorney General’s Office and urge the Attorney General to withdraw the “Request for Production of Documents” that demands sermons and sermon notes.
Phone: 404-656-3300 | Email

Pray that Gov. Deal and the Attorney General will be God-fearing and recognize that they are accountable to Him for each decision and act. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding” Proverbs 9:10.

Additional press conference articles and videos:

Jeremy Dys, an attorney with First Liberty Institute, speaks in defense of Dr. Eric Walsh at a press conference at the Georgia Capitol building. GERALD HARRIS/Index

Jeremy Dys, an attorney with First Liberty Institute, speaks in defense of Dr. Eric Walsh at a press conference at the Georgia Capitol building. GERALD HARRIS/Index