2020 Victories: ACLJ Scores Victory for Christian FBI Agent Ordered to Remove Bible Verses from Workspace
This is the latest installment of our year-end victories series looking back at some of the numerous victories by the ACLJ in 2020.
This year the ACLJ secured a victory on behalf of a federal law enforcement employee whose religious liberty came under attack.
A Christian FBI agent contacted us after he was told by a superior to remove a chalkboard containing Bible verses from its current location at the top of his cubicle. On two prior occasions over the course of two years, superiors had expressed concern or displeasure with his religious speech.
On another occasion, another FBI employee had been instructed to take down a 4th of July decoration because it contained the words, "God Bless America."
Yet other employees were allowed to display non-religious workspace decorations, including jokes of the day, and other holiday décor. Even a beer ad was somehow considered acceptable workplace decor, but Bible verses meant to offer hope and encouragement were deemed offensive.
When asked to remove the Bible verse, the agent respectfully declined because he believed the inconsistent enforcement of ambiguous office policy was targeting his First Amendment rights.
Our client had maintained excellent or "outstanding" reviews throughout his career, and had previously feared defending his rights might result in disciplinary action. And sadly, he was right.
He was removed from some of his duties and received a low annual review from his immediate supervisor (the same one who had expressed disagreement with his religious expression in the past) immediately following the incident.
Fortunately, after receiving a letter from the ACLJ, the FBI was very quick to review the matter and correct the course.
But what happened to this agent is all too common. Today’s culture of secularism rules both the government and private realm, resulting in the singling out of religious speech –specifically of Christians – for unfair and even hostile treatment.
Now more than ever, the ACLJ is primed to defend the inalienable right to free exercise of religion and free speech of all Americans. We’ve successfully defended schoolchildren who have been chastised by school officials for displaying their faith at school, and a teacher who was ordered not to display a nativity scene in her holiday display.
Targeted discrimination against Christians for displaying their faith cannot go unchallenged.
To help the ACLJ continue to have the resources we need to protect religious liberty, please consider making a Tax-Deductible donation to the ACLJ through our year-end Matching Challenge. Your gift will be DOUBLED dollar-for-dollar through the end of the year.
You can read more in the ACLJ’s 2020 Victories Series here.
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