40K Sign Petition Showing Support for Pastor's Right to Free Speech in Pulpit

Over 40,000 people have signed an online petition condemning the state's request of a pastor to hand over his sermons to government officials.

Dr. Eric Walsh, a Seventh-day Adventist pastor, became a target of government persecution in 2014 when the State of Georgia filed a Request for Production of Documents, which required Walsh to submit copies of his sermons. Walsh's sermons had previously drawn scrutiny over their "politically incorrect" views of Islam, sexuality, and the degeneracy of pop culture. Georgia official argued that such views should disqualify Walsh from being employed in the field of public health. Two days after submitting the copies of his sermons, health-department officials terminated Walsh's employment.

In response to the perceived religious persecution, the Family Research Council has begun an online petition condemning what it sees as blatant government overreach.

The petition, aimed at Gov. Nathan Deal reads: "I stand with Dr. Eric Walsh's freedom to believe and live according to his deeply-held beliefs. The demand that he hand over his sermons, sermon notes, and all pastoral documents including his Bible represents a government intrusion into the sanctity of the church, pastor's study, and pulpit."

The petition has garnered over 40,000 signatures as of Thursday morning.

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