A teacher in Virginia spoke out at a public school-board meeting against a pro-transgender agenda being considered.
The school suspended him, and now is getting sued for violating his speech rights.
But the controversy now also has embroiled the local Democrat Party, whose members are demanding that a local church pastor recant his support for the teacher’s biblical stand.
The war has developed in Loudoun County, Virginia, where the Alliance Defending Freedom now is suing the school district over its punishment for the speech of teacher Byron Tanner Cross.
Now WJLA is reporting that the county’s Democrat leadership is demanding Pastor Gary Hamrick of Cornerstone Chapel retract his statements.
On Sunday, he had backed an effort to recall six Loudoun County school board members.
He told his congregation, “We’ve got to take back our schools. What are we to do do, just throw our arms up, surrender? And allow our kids to be taken over by liberal Marxist ideology?”
He cited the fight facing Cross, who with his wife attends the church.
“Friends, this is now where we are. Jesus calls us to occupy until he comes. Part of occupying is to be what Jesus tells us to be which is salt and light.”
He said the application of those substances sometimes is “very uncomfortable.”
But he said, “to be passive is to be complicit.”
He said his church was allowing petition signature gatherers to ask people to sign petitions to recall the six board members who are responsible for being “troublesome.”
“Some of the them are not doing their duty, to protect” children, he said.
They are “subjecting them to sexually explicit materials … they are already talking about racially divisive material, emotionally abusing our children.”
The pastor’s description of the case is at about the 30-minute mark here:
The broadcast outlet explained Hamrick said in an interview, “When somebody can’t even exercise their First Amendment rights of free speech, there’s a problem. All of Tanner Cross’s remarks were very loving, very considerate, but they are remarks that expressed his convictions as a believer, and if we as Christians are being silenced today, then somebody has to be speak up.”
Lissa Savaglio, the chief of the county’s Democrat Party, accused the pastor of having dangerous opinions.
“Child abuse is a crime. And for him to go up and accuse our school board members of that, I think it is dangerous,” she charged.
She said board members were “already receiving death threats,” the report said.
“I am very fearful that this will aggravate that and not helping with coming together as a community,” she said.
Hamrick said he stands on his beliefs.
“My comments are simply trying to affirm the biological value of how children are created in God’s image. Male and female. And anything contrary to that is… not helping children and it is potentially damaging.”
Cross has taught at Leesburg Elementary School for several years, but was suspended after he exercised his First Amendment rights to comment on the proposed school policies at a school board meeting.
The policies at issue “would force teachers to violate their conscience as educators and their deeply held beliefs by requiring them to address students with their chosen pronouns rather than the ones consistent with their biological sex,” the ADF legal team argues.
“Public schools have no business compelling teachers to express ideological beliefs that they don’t hold, nor do they have the right to suspend someone simply for respectfully providing their opinion at a public meeting,” said Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer.
“The school district favors a certain set of beliefs on a hotly contested issue, and it wants to force Tanner to cry uncle and endorse them as well. That’s neither legal nor constitutional, and neither was the school’s move to place Tanner on leave.”
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