Craig Richter has had an outstanding track record as the principal of Foothill Elementary School in Santa Barbara, California. He has consistently achieved high performance evaluations, great rapport with parents, and increased student standardized test scores. Craig also values teachers and believes in honoring those who positively impact the lives of students.
So when the organizers of the 52nd Annual Santa Barbara Community Prayer Breakfast enlisted the support of several local educators to endorse this inter-denominational and non-sectarian event honoring area school teachers, Craig elected to participate – on his own time, as a member of the community.
To help get the word out to local business owners, Craig appeared for 30 seconds in a three-minute promotional video, along with a Santa Barbara-area school superintendent and a local high school teacher. Craig identified himself as the principal of Foothill School, but did not mention the school district. Regardless, a school district board member who viewed the video on the Internet filed a complaint against Craig, wrongly claiming that he had violated the so-called “separation of church and state.”
The school district proceeded to place Craig on a disciplinary “performance plan” and has threatened to end his contract in March 2011. Craig contacted ADF for legal assistance and was referred to a local ADF-allied attorney who is now defending Craig’s constitutionally protected freedom of speech in an effort to help him keep his job.
Personally endorsing a prayer event that invites people of all faiths to honor teachers does not violate the U.S. Constitution. Nonetheless, Christians – like Craig – are increasingly being discriminated against and punished by their employers for expressing their religious beliefs outside of the workplace as private citizens.
Christians’ Careers in Jeopardy
For decades, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and its allies have used fear, intimidation, and disinformation to enforce the myth of the so-called “separation of church and state.” Although this term is not found anywhere in the U.S. Constitution, the opposition has instilled the widespread misperception that all religious expression must be banned from the public square.
As a result, government and secular employers are increasingly intruding on the God-given, constitutionally protected right of Christians to express their faith in public – even when they do so as private citizens.
ADF and its more than 1,800 allied attorneys across America are defending Christians – like Donald Mendell and Dr. Michael Campion – whose careers have been jeopardized simply because they expressed support of Christian organizations, initiatives, and values:
- Donald Mendell is a respected guidance counselor at Nokomis Regional High School in Maine, who has received awards and recognition for years of outstanding professional and community service. Don is also a Christian who expressed his belief that marriage is the union between one man and one woman by appearing in a television ad that encouraged citizens to vote in favor of Ballot Question 1, which would repeal a state law that fabricated same-sex “marriage.” Two counselors, who oppose Don’s beliefs about marriage, reported him to the state social workers’ licensing board.
- Dr. Michael Campion is a Christian psychologist who performed employment testing for the city of Minneapolis. After learning about Dr. Campion’s affiliation with a conservative Christian organization – the Illinois Family Institute – the city “suspended” him. And even though the city had no evidence that Dr. Campion’s work was flawed or biased – and an independent psychologist informed the city that Dr. Campion was clearly an expert in his line of work – the city terminated its professional relationship with his firm and hired a more expensive, less-experienced contractor to fill the position.
Even though Don’s and Dr. Campion’s religiously based activities occurred outside of the workplace as private citizens, they were still discriminated against and punished by the government for being Christian. And, had it not been for ADF legal intervention, they would have suffered severe consequences. Favorable rulings in cases like these are crucial, as they could have serious ramifications for the religious freedom of Christians across America.
Protecting Religious Freedom with Your Help
The opposition is working overtime to stop the spread of the Gospel. By taking legal action, they are intimidating Christians like you into silence in an effort to contain your faith within the walls of your church. With the generous support of Ministry Friends like you, ADF will continue to defend the constitutionally protected right of Christians to boldly proclaim the Truth without fear of punishment in the workplace – or anywhere else.
Will you stand with us to stop these attacks on religious freedom? Your best gift today will make a significant difference!