Georgia Pays Almost a Quarter of a Million Dollars | First Liberty

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Georgia Pays Almost a Quarter of a Million Dollars to End Pastor’s Lawsuit

State of Georgia pays Dr. Eric Walsh $225,000 to settle religious discrimination lawsuit

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February 9, 2017

Atlanta, Ga. – Today, First Liberty Institute announces they reached a settlement agreement between the State of Georgia and First Liberty’s client, Dr. Eric Walsh. The State of Georgia agreed to pay $225,000 to settle Dr. Walsh’s religious discrimination lawsuit.

“I am grateful this trial has finally ended,” Dr. Eric Walsh says. “It’s been a long, difficult journey, but it’s worth it to have my name cleared and to ensure that all Georgia government employees know they have religious liberty.”

“This is a clear and resounding victory for religious freedom,” Jeremy Dys, Senior Counsel for First Liberty Institute and counsel for Dr. Walsh, says. “We always knew the law was on our side, so we are pleased the State of Georgia agreed to settle this case and clear Dr. Walsh’s good name.”

Dr. Walsh, a lay minister and former Georgia government employee, filed a lawsuit against the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) after evidence surfaced that he had been fired because of his religious beliefs.

In May 2014, Walsh accepted a position as a District Health Director with the DPH. A week later, a DPH official asked him to submit copies of sermons he had previously preached as a lay minister with the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The day after Dr. Walsh provided his sermons to the state, the DPH terminated Dr. Walsh. In April 2016, First Liberty Institute, along with Atlanta law firm Parks, Chesin & Walbert, filed a lawsuit against the DPH on behalf of Dr. Walsh, charging the DPH with religious discrimination.

“We are grateful that the State of Georgia agreed to settle the case and acknowledge the right of their employees to express their religious beliefs,” Dys says. “No one should be fired for simply expressing his religious beliefs.”

Read more about the case and access photos and videos at FirstLiberty.org/Walsh

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About First Liberty Institute

First Liberty Institute is the largest legal organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to defending religious freedom for all Americans.

To arrange an interview, contact Kassie Dulin, Director of Legal Communications for First Liberty Institute. Email: kdulin@firstliberty.org, Direct: 972-941-4575, Cell: 214-542-4334.

Dear Coach Kennedy,

I would like to say thank you. Your dedication to your faith and your commitment to the positive education of our youth is truly admirable. I am deeply grateful for your military service and for taking a courageous stance in protecting religious liberty rights for teachers and administrators.

If our First Amendment protects a player’s right to kneel in protest, it certainly protects your right to kneel in prayer.

I was shocked to learn that Bremerton High School suspended you after denying your request to continue your wholesome practice of giving thanks after football games.

The Bremerton School District’s actions violate the law and send the wrong message to coaches, young people, our communities, and our nation — a message of hostility to religious freedom and intolerance toward personal religious expression.

Please know that you are not alone in this difficult time — I support you and First Liberty as you continue to fight for religious freedom! Our schools need more coaches like you, our country needs more citizens like you, and our world needs more people like you.