According to the First Liberty Institute, a legal firm representing Dr. Johnson Varkey, in November, four students staged a walkout during Dr. Varkey’s lecture on the standard teaching regarding X and Y chromosomes. The law firm has now written a letter to St. Philips College, urging them to promptly restore Dr. Varkey to his position and expunge any allegations of misconduct from his record.
According to a press release from First Liberty, the organization stated, “In his role as an adjunct professor, Dr. Varkey 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. Throughout that time, he never discussed with any student his personal views—religious or otherwise—on human gender or sexuality.”
In January, approximately two months following the walkout incident, Dr. Varkey was served with a Notice of Discipline and Termination of Employment and Contract letter. The letter indicated that the school had received multiple complaints about various aspects of his teaching, including allegations of religious preaching, discriminatory remarks towards homosexuals and transgender individuals, the promotion of anti-abortion views, and engaging in misogynistic conversations. First Liberty reports that the letter claimed Dr. Varkey’s teaching exceeded the limits of academic freedom by incorporating personal opinions that offended many individuals within the classroom.
In addition to their scientific nature, Dr. Varkey’s statements also reflect his strong Christian religious convictions. He holds the position of associate pastor at a church in San Antonio and hosts a radio ministry focused on Bible study.
According to First Liberty, the termination of Dr. Varkey’s employment infringes upon various laws that safeguard individuals from facing repercussions for their religious beliefs or expressing them.
“When decision makers at St. Philip’s College terminated Dr. Varkey because of his religious beliefs and classroom statements about biology, they violated 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.”