It was a small sentence—”I’ll pray for you”— nevertheless it meant large hassle for Cony High School technician Toni Richardson. When Richardson supplied that consolation to a different Christian on workers in personal, she was hauled earlier than faculty officers and warned to not utter a phrase about her religion once more.
District officers kicked off the controversy final yr by telling Richardson that she might “face self-discipline or dismissal sooner or later” if she expressed her religion so overtly once more. “I used to be shocked that my employer punished me for privately telling a co-worker I’d pray for them,” she instructed reporters on the time.
First Liberty Institute’s Jeremy Dys, who filed a criticism on Richardson’s behalf, defined that it had been a tough 12 months for Richardson since then. “This complete yr Toni has needed to self-censor herself, ensuring she’s not utilizing spiritual language. … She’s even needed to chorus from carrying jewellery that has a cross on it, as a result of if somebody had been to overhear this personal dialog or see that spiritual imagery around her neck, then she might face self-discipline and even be terminated.”
Fortunately, after a yearlong conflict over spiritual freedom, faculty officers have apparently had second ideas about their assaults. Late final week, our pals at First Liberty proclaimed victory, asserting that the district had formally walked again its risk to Richardson and issued a brand new memorandum giving her and others the fitting to make faith-based statements—with out worry of faculty self-discipline.
Augusta directors mentioned they acknowledged “the rights of staff to carry and specific spiritual beliefs and it by no means was our intent to unlawfully limit these rights.”
It’s a tragic commentary on America, Family Research Council’s Travis Weber identified, that making an attempt to encourage somebody by telling them you’re “praying for them” would even draw a criticism. But it’s additionally an encouraging instance for Christians about what we will accomplish once we rise up with braveness and conviction.
Richardson didn’t again down when the forces of political correctness got here knocking. She knew her rights and demanded they be revered. We applaud First Liberty Institute and Richardson for his or her persistence. Let this be a warning to different faculty districts that attempt to intimidate academics and different workers members of religion. Christians will combat again, and regardless of the claims of the left on the contrary, the Constitution is on their facet.
To hear the story from Richardson, take a look at this interview we did on “Washington Watch.”
This was initially printed in Tony Perkins’ Washington Update, which is written with the help of Family Research Council senior writers.
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