An international nonprofit litigation organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom has some advice for the Miami-Dade school district: Don’t go there.
The advice comes from Liberty Counsel, which today said it had sent a letter to the superintendent stating that any effort to rescind a facilities usage lease with a church because of the pastor’s sermon on homosexuality would be a violation of the First Amendment.
The issue arose when Impact Miami Church Pastor Jack Hakimian preached on the biblical position on homosexuality: It’s a sin.
The Miami-Dade County Public Schools then announced it was “reviewing” its lease with the church.
The superintendent claims that the sermon violated the school’s anti-bullying and nondiscrimination policies.
But Liberty Counsel said during the sermon in question, Hakimian explicitly denounced bullying and taught respect for all people.
“The reason why I am dealing with [homosexuality] so much is because there is an aggressive approach by … gay theologians that says the Bible never spoke about homosexuality in a way that contemporary Christians understand it,” he said.
“It’s all over – it’s on Youtube, its on CNN, and its on 60 Minutes. They are not just saying, ‘accept us’ – and I believe we should protect, and not bully, and treat all people with dignity and respect – but they are going beyond and above to change the very meaning of Scripture,” he said.
Liberty Counsel said the nondiscrimination and anti-bullying policies of the Miami-Dade School Board are just “not applicable” to the church situation.
“Pastor Hakimian and the church have violated no law or policy. The district cannot discriminate on the basis of his biblically sound viewpoint. Any attempt by the school board to modify, change, or revoke the lease agreement would be unconstitutional,” the organization said.
“The district must respect the First Amendment rights of Pastor Hakimian and the church,” said Mat Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel.