Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Sports Announcer Sues Fox for Religious Discrimination
Craig James, a former pro-football player and respected sports announcer, is suing Fox Sports.
He alleges Fox fired him because of his religious beliefs on homosexuality and marriage.
It wasn't anything he said on the air---he was fired for something he said in 2012 as a political candidate.
Craig James was fired by Fox Sports on September 1, 2013.
James has now filed a lawsuit. Fox Sports has until the end of this month to respond.
By all accounts Craig James is an excellent sports announcer---so good that Fox hired him. He understands football because he played professionally, and is articulate in calling and describing what is happening on the football field.
Here is the problem---as far as Fox is concerned.
In 2012, Craig James ran for a US Senate seat in his home state of Texas.
He lost the election to a man named Ted Cruz. Yes, that Ted Cruz.
After Fox Sports hired James, a homosexual activist brought to their attention a comment that James made in answering a question during the 2012 political campaign.
KERA TV News reported during the 2012 campaign, "Republican US Senate candidate Craig James says he believes being gay is a choice and gays have to answer to God."
At the time, the TV station debate moderator was comparing Republican candidates James and Cruz to Republican Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert who had marched in the Dallas Gay Pride Parade.
Ted Cruz told the TV station he didn't agree with Leppert's marching in the parade because it celebrates what the parade is about and sends a message that he does not agree with.
Mayor Leppert complained that Cruz was distorting his position---sounds familiar doesn't it?
Leppert said, "I believe marriage should be defined as one man and one woman, but I have a responsibility to represent everybody."
"My role as a Christian is to reach out and touch everybody," Mayor Leppert said.
Are we to "reach out" at the expense of compromising basic biblical teaching?
That's what's wrong in the Republican Party. That notion of being both "for" and "against" social issues that are biblically wrong defines the leadership of the GOP.
Following the statements by Ted Cruz and the mayor, Craig James weighed in.
He said, "I think right now in this country, our moral fiber is sliding down a slope that is going to be hard to stop if we don't stand up with leaders who don't go ride in gay parades. I can assure you I will never ride in a gay parade. And I hear what you're saying, Tom, but leaders---our kids out there need to see examples."
The moderator then asked James: "Do you think people choose to be gay?"
Craig James responded: "I think it's a choice, I do."
Moderator: "It's not in the genes?"
James: "I think you have to make that choice. But in that case right there, they are going to have to answer to the Lord for their actions. We should not give benefits to those civil unions."
Back to 2015.
Fox Sports, after hiring James, reviewed the 2012 discussion above, and fired him.
A senior vice president at Fox said their decision was based on statements James made about homosexuality and same-sex marriage---expressed in 2012.
The Fox Sports Human Resource Department says, "We just asked ourselves how Craig's statements would play in our human resources department."
Lou D' Ermilio, a senior vice president at Fox Sports, told the Dallas Morning News, "He couldn't say those things here."
But he didn't.
James says he "didn't say one thing about his faith while working at Fox Sports."
He says now Fox Sports has pigeon holed him into being seen as an anti-gay guy and he is unable to get a job in broadcasting because of their labeling him.
James says the lawsuit is about much more than money.
He says, "Religious liberty is on trial. It's really important that people recognize this isn't about me. This is about all of us being able to enjoy out religious liberty and freedoms. That is so important."
Fox says their decision to terminate James had nothing to do with his religious beliefs.
It seems like that will be a difficult argument to make before a judge---or jury. Unless, of course, it's an activist judge.
Weeks before they fired him, Fox Sports was promoting him as one of America's best sports announcers.
What changed? Did James suddenly forget how to be a great announcer?
Hiram Sasser, one of James' lawyers, is with Liberty Institute, a Christian law firm that defends religious liberty. He says, "If you work for a Fortune 500 company and you have religious beliefs that compel you to believe in traditional marriage and have expressed those beliefs in a public forum, there's only two reasons you haven't been fired: One is your boss doesn't know about it. Or two, which is related to that, is that no one has come after you to try to get your boss to fire you."
Fox Sports has until August 31 to respond.
Pray for Craig.
Pray for our nation.
We'll keep you posted as this proceeds.
Be Informed. Be Prayerful. Be Blessed.