Eric Walsh, a lay pastor and former district health director with the Georgia Department of Public Health, filed a lawsuit against the state after being fired for what he preached in the pulpit.
Just a week after he got his new position as district health director in 2014, the department forced Walsh to hand over copies of his sermons to the state. Soon, after watching his sermons, the department fired him.
First Liberty Institute represented Walsh during the entire legal showdown and finally won a $225,000 settlement.
"I am grateful this trial has finally ended," Dr. Eric Walsh says. "It's been a long, difficult journey, but it's worth it to have my name cleared and to ensure that all Georgia government employees know they have religious liberty."
"This is a clear and resounding victory for religious freedom," Jeremy Dys, senior counsel for First Liberty Institute and counsel for Dr. Walsh, says. "We always knew the law was on our side, so we are pleased the State of Georgia agreed to settle this case and clear Dr. Walsh's good name."
Dys believes this is a learning lesson for everyone.
"We are grateful that the State of Georgia agreed to settle the case and acknowledge the right of their employees to express their religious beliefs," Dys says. "No one should be fired for simply expressing his religious beliefs."