A man fired by the National Park Service says his former employer needs to learn about religious freedom.
The federal agency fired Roger Holly after the employee, who is also a Baptist pastor, baptized a park visitor during Holly’s lunch break.
Holly worked for the Maritime National Historic Park, located in San Francisco, where he changed clothes and baptized the person in the ocean at that person’s request.
Holly’s attorney, Alan Reinach, of the Church State Council says the baptism was done without any kind of ceremony that would suggest it was endorsed by the National Park Service.
Holly changed back into his uniform at the end of his lunch break and returned to work but was reported by a co-worker.
The incident dates back to November 2013, when the baptism occurred. Holly got a letter in March 2014 indicating his termination, CourthNews.com reported.
The relatively swift action taken against Holly is at odds with the light punishment of National Park Service employees in Colorado, where males allegedly sexually abused their female co-workers.
An audit by the Inspector General’s Office recorded accusations of inappropriate activity dating back 15 years at Grand Canyon National Park, The Washington Times reported.
Reinach says Holly’s termination is going to court because it’s a “straight forward” case of religious discrimination.
“We’re claiming that his termination was based on his religious activity,” says the attorney, “and that he had every right to engage in religious activities on his own private time.”
Holly is asking the court for reinstatement, back pay, attorney fees, and training of park staff on constitutional protections for freedom of religion.
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