Court sides with fireman fired for his faith

Tuesday, January 30, 2018
 | 
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

gavel with Bible 1A recent ruling by the highest court in The Evergreen State is being viewed as an important reminder of First Amendment principles.

The Washington Supreme Court ruled on Thursday (Jan. 25) in favor of a former Spokane fire captain who was fired for refusing to self-censor his religious expression (see earlier OneNewsNow story). The court held that the Spokane Valley Fire Department committed unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination when it admonished and ultimately terminated Jonathan Sprague.

email buttonAt issue were the department's e-mail and electronic bulletin board systems – forums that had been used by other employees to seek babysitting and sell concert tickets, but that Sprague's supervisors had told him not to use to announce religious meetings. The department had also shared newsletters by e-mail dealing with social topics like substance abuse and conflicts with children, but Sprague's attempts to share biblical perspectives on the same topics got him fired.

"This is a terrific victory for Captain Sprague and an important reminder of First Amendment principles," says attorney Brad Dacus of Pacific Justice Institute, whose organization was asked to participate in the case as amicus and filed a friend-of-the-court brief. "No employee should be terminated for speaking on otherwise-permissible topics at work just because he has a religious perspective."

According to Dacus, that is why Sprague was fired. "[It wasn't] because he didn't do a good job, but simply because he didn't keep his faith to himself," Dacus elaborates, adding that that's exactly why the court's decision is so important.

Dacus, Brad (PJI)"It sends a signal to Christians working for government agencies all across America that if they are fired or silenced simply because of a Christian biblical expression, that that's likely going to be unconstitutional under the First Amendment."

Dacus adds that his group's case load reveals a "growing tension [and] hostility" toward individuals with a Christian biblical worldview – and a desire to silence that worldview.

PJI was assisted in the case by Seattle affiliate attorney Conrad Reynoldson of Washington Civil & Disability Advocate. Sprague is represented by Albrecht Law in Spokane.

Comments

We moderate all reader comments, usually within 24 hours of posting (longer on weekends). Please limit your comment to 300 words or less and ensure it addresses the article - NOT another reader's comments. Comments that contain a link (URL), an inordinate number of words in ALL CAPS, rude remarks directed at other readers, or profanity/vulgarity will not be approved. More details

FEATURED PODCAST

SIGN UP FOR OUR DAILY NEWSBRIEF

SUBSCRIBE

VOTE IN OUR POLL

Do you depend on the network news to keep up with events of the day?

CAST YOUR VOTE

GET PUSH NOTIFICATIONS

SUBSCRIBE

LATEST AP HEADLINES

  Is France helping Lebanon, or trying to reconquer it?
  At least 8 soldiers dead in blast outside Somali army base
  Survivors of deadly India crash say plane swayed violently
Last-ditch virus aid talks collapse; no help for jobless now
AP sources: Whitmer met with Biden as he nears VP decision
Officials long warned of explosive chemicals at Beirut port

LATEST FROM THE WEB

Amber Guyger, former Dallas cop, files appeal to get murder conviction overturned
Joe Biden apologizes for his insulting comments about the black community
Trump working on health insurance order on preexisting conditions
Trump says coronavirus relief executive order could come by the end of the week 'if Democrats continue to hold relief hostage'
Hasbro put out a troll doll that 'gasps and giggles' when a button on its 'private area' is pushed

CARTOON OF THE DAY

Cartoon of the Day
NEXT STORY
TX cheerleaders case drags on after school appeals

gavel with U.S. flagA legal battle over cheerleaders and their Bible verse banners continues in the courts but one attorney stresses it's about more than just paper and paint.