Collins Statement on Eric Walsh v. Georgia Department of Public Health

Oct 27, 2016

WASHINGTON—Congressman Doug Collins released the following statement today regarding the events surrounding Dr. Eric Walsh—both a lay pastor and a public health expert who was an appointee to the Presidential Advisory Committee on HIV/AIDS—and the Georgia Department of Public Health. The Department of Health offered Dr. Walsh a position in 2014 and rescinded its employment offer after requesting and reviewing his sermons. Dr. Walsh has filed a civil suit against the Department, and the Attorney General has requested a copy of his sermon notes and transcripts. The Congressman’s statement is below:

“Today is International Religious Freedom Day, and it is with deep respect for the rights of all people to express their faith or lack of faith that I turn attention to my home state of Georgia.

“As a pastor, I find the events surrounding Dr. Eric Walsh’s dismissal from the Department of Health alarming. As a lawyer, I am eager to see that the Attorney General handles this case with clarity and fairness. Dr. Walsh’s sermons remain an expression of his faith, which our courts must protect from discrimination, especially if that discrimination comes from a government agency.

“I have and will continue to stand for religious liberty and expression for pastors, chaplains, and individuals everywhere, and I oppose any attempts to discourage people from exercising that freedom.”