A biology professor at St. Philip’s College in San Antonio, Texas, says he was fired for teaching students that sex is determined by X and Y chromosomes. First Liberty Institute, representing professor Johnson Varkey, wrote that, “The college fired him for teaching basic and widely accepted concepts of biology. We’re asking the college to immediately reinstate Dr. Varkey to his position and clear his record of any wrongdoing.”
Johnson Varkey, who has taught at St. Philip’s College for 20 years, said the school fired him for “religious preaching” after he after he educated students about the human reproductive system in November, which led to four students walking out of his class, according to First Liberty Institute, a Texas-based nonprofit Christian conservative law firm which sent a letter to the college on behalf of Varkey, demanding that the professor be reinstated.
“The college fired him for teaching basic and widely accepted concepts of biology. We’re asking the college to immediately reinstate Dr. Varkey to his position and clear his record of any wrongdoing,” First Liberty Institute said in a statement.
The law firm says that Varkey has taught human anatomy and physiology to more than 1,500 students since 2003.
“During Dr. Varkey’s 20-year employment as a biology professor at St. Philip’s College, he consistently received exemplary performance reviews and was never subject to discipline,” the firm said. “Throughout that time, he never discussed with any student his personal views — religious or otherwise — on human gender or sexuality.”
First Liberty Institute explained that during a November lecture, Varkey had “stated, consistent with his study of human biology and religious beliefs, that sex was determined by chromosomes X and Y.”
In January, the professor was given a “Notice of Discipline and Termination of Employment and Contract” letter stating that the college had “received numerous complaints” about his “religious preaching, discriminatory comments about homosexuals and transgender individuals, anti-abortion rhetoric, and misogynistic banter.”
“In other words, he was fired for teaching true and widely accepted concepts,” First Liberty Institute stated.
“In addition to having a foundation in science, Dr. Varkey’s statements also reflect his religious beliefs,” the law firm added. “He is a devout Christian who serves as a volunteer associate pastor at his church in San Antonio. He also hosts a Bible-teaching radio ministry.”
First Liberty Institute continued:
Like millions of religious Americans, Dr. Varkey has a sincerely held belief that God created humankind male and female. His faith teaches that one’s sex is ordained by God, that one should love and care for the body that God gave him or her, and that one should not attempt to erase or alter his or her sex, whether through drugs or surgical means.
The law firm goes on to accuse St. Philip’s College of violating several federal and state laws, “including the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”
“Public universities have no business firing professors for teaching actual science,” the firm added. “It’s harmful to academic freedom. It’s also harmful to religious liberty, as the college is sending a message that people of faith are not welcome and need not apply.”
The law firm goes on to call Varkey “the latest example of an everyday American who lost his job to a toxic cancel culture that is infecting employers across the country.”
“This reduces good people to second-class status, which is outrageous, wrong and makes a mockery of laws that protect religious Americans from discrimination,” First Liberty Institute said.