Former Austin Fire Chaplain Suing City for Firing Him Over Personal Blog Posts

Former Austin Fire Chaplain Suing City for Firing Him Over Personal Blog Posts

A former volunteer chaplain for the Austin Fire Department has filed suit against the city for dismissing him after he shared his Biblical views on sex and gender on his personal blog.

Andrew Fox, an ordained minister, started Austin’s fire chaplaincy program in 2013 and served as the city’s lead chaplain. During the summer of 2021, Fox wrote a three-part blog titled “Willy Woke and the Chocolate Factory,” on his personal website. The second post of the series addressed the issue of transgender athletes.

“Transgender ideology within the context of athletic sport benefits men at the expense of women,” he wrote. “Men have greater levels of testosterone, cardiovascular reserve, lung capacity per body mass, denser and stronger bones, tendons, and ligaments. Even if a trans male athlete meets the required testosterone levels to compete as a female, there’s a whole lot more going on in the male body. Transgender ideology in this context is not just a benefit to men at the cost of women, but the ideology itself is a denial of science and fair play. … Even the Journal of Medical Ethics has called it ‘intolerable unfairness.’”

Fox also quoted Proverbs 11:116:11; and 20:10 to back up his argument Scripturally.

According to the lawsuit, an “unknown number of individuals” within the fire department had anonymously complained about the blog posts. Yet when Fox initially met with the fire chief, the assistant chief and one of the department’s LGBT liaisons and asked what specifically about his posts the complainants found offensive, he didn’t receive an answer.

After several cordial conversations with fire department leaders, Fox assumed the issue was resolved. But in October, the assistant fire chief told Fox the fire chief wanted him to write an official apology letter to the LGBTQ members of the department.

Fox complied, writing, “While I stand by the academic logic and reason in my blogs, at no point is it my intention to offend the reader. Rather, my intention is to open healthy discussion on any topic in a dialectic manner so we can learn more about each other through civil discourse—written or spoken. For those who are offended, I apologize if my blogs make you feel offended.”

The fire chief rejected two drafts of Fox’s letter because Fox refused to recant his views. A few weeks later, Fox was dismissed from his role as lead chaplain of the Austin Fire Department .

“Everyone should be able to speak freely without fear of the government coming after you just because you expressed a view they disagree with,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Ryan Bangert, who is representing Fox. “Dr. Fox served Austin’s fire department—without pay—for eight years with excellence and integrity, treating everyone equally, including those in the LGBT community. But none of that mattered to city officials when he shared one opinion on his personal blog that they didn’t like. No matter your personal view on whether men should be allowed to compete on women’s sports teams, it should deeply concern every American that the government can fire someone for expressing it.”

Photo: Courtesy of Alliance Defending Freedom

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