Miami-Dade County Messes with the Wrong Christian, Gets Hit with Federal Lawsuit

A Christian man and former public employee in Miami-Dade County, Florida, has filed a federal lawsuit against the county’s board of commissioners, alleging religious discrimination over mandated re-education training after he expressed personal opinions in his own free time about the insanity that is the U.S. Congress’ “Equality Act.”

This is the kind of story you really need to wake up and pay attention to if you have any desire to see religious liberty (and thus, all liberty) preserved in the United States of America at this radical juncture in our nation’s history.

In 2021, John Labriola, a media aide for the Miami-Dade County Board of Directors, wrote a full-throated rebuke of the so-called “Equality Act,” which he said has been described as “the most comprehensive assault on Christianity ever written into law.” I’m quite tempted to agree.

The legislation, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives last year, would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, sexuality or gender identity and has been broadly rebuked as posing a major threat to both religious liberty and our nation’s women and girls.

In bitter irony quite fitting, sadly, for 2022, Labriola’s own faith appears to have come under the assault of Soviet-style workplace backlash, according to a federal lawsuit filed on his behalf by the law firm Pacific Justice Institute.

The Epoch Times reported that Erin New, the county’s director of human rights and fair employment practices, received an email from a “concerned citizen” drawing attention to Labriola’s opinion piece in Sophie’s Voice, a newsletter for a small conservative publisher, Sophie Publishing House, Inc.

The concerned citizen was Orlando Gonzales, the executive director of the activist group SAVE LGBT, who had seen a story about the piece in the Miami Herald and told New in an email that Labriola had “conducted himself in manner that blatantly demonstrates his bias against LGBTQ people” and that he was “a danger to the community” and “unfit for a role in government as civil servant,” according to Epoch Times.

Gonzales urged the county to “fully investigate this matter and discipline Mr. Labriola by dismissing him from his role.”

That, it appears, is exactly what happened.

Labriola was initially written up and ordered by the Board of County Commissioners chair to “participate in training regarding the County’s anti-discrimination policies.”

“You must contact the Human Resources Department within the next 7 days to schedule the training,” Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz wrote, according to the Times. “I expect you to have completed this training within the next 30 days.”

Labriola was repeatedly told in a series of emails that he was required to complete the training, which he refused to do on the basis that he felt singled out over his beliefs.

“Why am I being singled out for disciplinary action and remedial ‘sensitivity training’ as punishment for exercising my right to express my views on my private time as a private citizen?” he wrote in one email to Diaz’s chief of staff.

“Why is the County surrendering to the unjust demands of ideological extremists seeking to crush everyone who disagrees with proposed legislation that many Americans consider severely detrimental to public health, safety, welfare and freedom of speech and religion? Other than the desire to placate outside extremist pressure groups, the County has not provided me with any other credible reason for the discipline nor identified any specific words in my online published commentary which could have triggered this action.”

Labriola was told that he was simply being required to undergo training to review county policy for employees, but recently-updated employee training workshops include such tell-tale topics as “unconscious bias,” “racial bias” and “LGBTQ+ sensitivity.”

County policy specifies that religious beliefs are among other “protected classes” such as gender identity or sexual orientation, but Labriola’s attorneys say the county and board of commissioners violated his right to free speech and free exercise of religion according to Title 42 of the United States Code, which deals with public health, social welfare and civil rights.

“Every person who … subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person … the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law,” Title 42 states.

The lawsuit aptly notes that “this case is much bigger than Mr. Labriola. … This case is about the County’s use of its dangerous ‘mute’ button to silence religious speech that it doesn’t like and to compel speech that it does like. It is also about the County’s discrimination against one of its employees based on religion, as well as about the County’s failure to follow its own policy.”

Indeed, this is exactly what Labriola was concerned about when he penned his fiery opinion piece in the first place, warning that the Equality Act “would be used as a battering ram to prosecute and abolish the free speech rights of anyone who dares defy the left’s sexual and gender ideologies.”

This phenomenon is already happening in the ways that entities like Miami-Dade County craft “anti-discrimination” policies that ultimately lead to discrimination on the basis of religious conservatives who simply don’t agree with codifying gender theory into law.

This, indeed, is the primary means through which Christian voices are being suppressed in the United States, and it is high time that every single Christian begins to take similar stands against it.

As Labriola noted himself, the Equality Act “would make it a crime to call a man a man, while forcing religious institutions to abandon their Biblical principles and embrace the twin abominations of homosexual marriage and transgenderism.”

“It’s going to be a choice of either baking that sodomy cake and hiring the scary-looking, child-molesting tranny with a beard or being drowned in legal bills and driven out of business,” he wrote in his Sophie’s Voice essay, using admittedly crude terminology that nonetheless characterizes the legal concerns of the Equality Act and similar legislation and public policy.

The radical ideology permeating the highest echelons of academia, global corporatism and governance and domestic policy has passed under the radar of millions of practicing and professing Christians for decades because it passes itself off as harmlessly secular.

Christians have grown compliant with the dangerous notion that there are morally neutral secular ideas like “anti-racism,” “nonjudgement” and “social justice” that are consistent with Christianity because they sound on the surface like benign ideas.

However, these ideas all stem from postmodern critical theory which, regardless of your opinion on its application to public life and culture, is founded in a worldview that is decidedly opposed to the biblical worldview.

The classical philosophy on which our country was founded, on the other hand, while hardly synonymous with the orthodox Christian worldview, is far more consistent with it, which is why our nation has for so long been a haven of religious liberty and the free exchange of ideas.

This free exchange of ideas has been radically impaired by critical theory, however, which is dedicated to disrupting and “deconstructing” the very philosophical and civic systems that previously allowed true liberty to flourish in the United States.

And so, liberty is being stunted, as plainly evidenced by the fact that a man can be reprimanded at his public job for expressing private opinions he ought to have every right to express.

Christians must not allow themselves to be censured and censored for abiding by their convictions and stating the truth they are conscience-bound to affirm.

The Equality Act, which Labriola opposes, is an abomination to the Christian faith. It is our Constitutional right to say this without threat of persecution and suppression, and this cannot be stated more firmly.

It is consistent with the very spirit of the dangerous legislation that he became the victim of workplace backlash in his public position for stating as much.

This also comes at a time when the federal government is raiding the homes of pro-life activists, targeting parents who protest explicit sex education in school and is being called upon to investigate social media accounts speaking out against transgender surgeries for minors.

It’s never been more important to defy the woke orthodoxy that has taken over so much of public and private life in the United States.

It is a matter of both fearing the Lord and defending our sacred liberties to live a life that reflects this reverence.

“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

Joshua 24:15

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.