Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Fired For Jesus

Remember that little right that our forefathers sailed across the turbulent Atlantic in a rickety wooden ship to obtain?

Surely they would have freedom of religion in the New World, where they could practice their religion peacefully and openly.

Apparently that dream is being lost.

A Christian woman is battling a California university and state social agency for terminating her internship because she shared her faith with co-workers during off-hours. Jacqueline Escobar was completing a master's degree in social work at California State University Long Beach when she interned with the Department of Children and Family Services, or DCFS. A straight-A student, Escobar was complimented regularly by the DCFS for her work. But she came under scrutiny for sharing her faith with co-workers during lunch breaks and after-hours, and for changing into a shirt with a religious message – "Found" – after signing out for the day, according to the Pacific Justice Institute, which is representing her. A trial is scheduled to begin April 3. "Through this case, we hope to send a powerful message to government employers: you cannot trounce upon the First Amendment rights of people of faith and expect to get away with it," said Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute.

Escobar was directed to stop speaking about her faith, even during breaks and after work hours.

Also, the university ordered her to sign a document admitting she had "an inability to separate her religious beliefs from her role" as an intern.

She refused to sign the document, arguing she couldn't agree to such a sweeping prohibition that included her religious practice during non-working hours.

Consequently, Escobar was terminated from her internship and threatened with expulsion from the graduate program.

She then contacted Pacific Justice Institute and filed the federal suit.

Attorney Daniel R. Watkins argued freedom of religion is "the first and most fundamental constitutional right."

"Unfortunately, as this case illustrates, religious beliefs are under assault from every sector of government," he said. "It is our intent to ensure that people of faith working in government are afforded the protections our founding fathers intended."

Can you even imagine if this overt discrimination had happened to a Muslim worker? There would be hell to pay, and you can take that to the bank!

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