A federal religious discrimination complaint has been filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against a taxpayer-funded community college in San Antonio, after the school allegedly fired a biology professor for teaching that sex is based on X and Y chromosomes.
The First Liberty Institute, which focuses on religious liberty issues, filed the complaint earlier this week with the EEOC on behalf of Dr. Johnson Varkey. First Liberty claims the school has discriminated against his religious and scientific beliefs.
“No college professor should be fired for teaching factual concepts that a handful of students don’t want to hear,” said Keisha Russell, an attorney for First Liberty. “Dr. Varkey received exemplary performance reviews for nearly two decades, teaching fact-based, widely accepted science. But now that cultural elites are at odds with these ideas, the school no longer supports professors who teach them. It is a blatant violation of state and federal civil rights laws to discriminate against someone because of their religious beliefs.”
According to his EEOC complaint, Varkey says the college violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act when it terminated him because of his religious beliefs.
“While I never preached or proselytized in class, the accusation of religious preaching was clearly in connection with the fact that I serve as an associate pastor. I would mention this by way of introduction at the beginning of each semester, so my students were aware,” wrote Varkey in his complaint to the EEOC. “The College assumed I was preaching rather than teaching due to negative, discriminatory stereotypes about Christians. This perception was inaccurate and discriminatory.”
Varkey, who has taught biology for 19 years, had four students walk out of his lectures in 2022 after he stated that sex is based on X and Y chromosomes. During the same class, he also taught that when a sperm joins an egg, a zygote is formed, and life starts when the zygote begins to divide—not when a baby is born.
A couple of months after the students walked out of his lecture, Varkey received a letter informing him that he was being terminated.
According to the letter, the college had received reports of “religious preaching, discriminatory comments about homosexuals and transgender individuals, anti-abortion rhetoric, and misogynistic banter.” The letter also claimed that his teaching “pushed beyond the bounds of academic freedom with [his] personal opinions that were offensive to many individuals in the classroom.”
“It saddens me that we have come to the place where, in an institution of higher learning, the feelings and opinions of the students are allowed to usurp the facts of science,” said Varkey in a recent interview with Fox News. “The law protects Americans like me from being punished by their employers for holding or expressing their religious beliefs. St. Philip’s College is sending a message that the facts of science don’t matter and that religious people are not welcome and need not apply.”
St. Philip’s College has not responded to a request for comment.