Thursday, October 27, 2016

Discovery Demand For Pastor's Sermons Generates Controversy

As previously reported, last April Eric Walsh, a doctor and public health expert, filed a religious discrimination suit against the Georgia Department of Public Health alleging that his termination shortly after he was hired was based on the content of sermons he had given as a Seventh Day Adventist lay minister. Now the Georgia Department of Public Health's discovery requests (full text) in the case have generated a new religious freedom controversy. Among the 22 categories of documents that plaintiff was requested to produce was:
Please produce a copy of your sermon notes and/or transcripts.
According to a First Liberty press release yesterday, Walsh will not turn over his sermons unless he is forced to do so, saying that no government has the right to require a pastor to turn over his sermons. Other advocacy groups have reacted in even stronger terms.  For example, Concerned Women for America captioned its press release "Georgia 'Gestapo' Combing Through Pastor's Sermons."