Charisma News last week reported that Miami pastor Jack Hakimian was in danger of losing his church lease because he boldly preached that homosexuality is a sin.
Now, his landlord is backing down in the face of reminders about the First Amendment.
Miami-Dade County School Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho had threated to revoke the lease from Impact Miami Church, which rents from a local high school. The superintendent planned to review the lease following one of Hakimian’s sermon that called out the intolerance of those who espouse the gay agenda.
What caused the superintendent to change his mind? Liberty Counsel sent a letter on Hakimian’s behalf stating that any adverse action against the pastor for his speech would violate the First Amendment.
“In recent days we have seen stepped-up attacks against free speech,” says Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel. “It is outrageous that a public school superintendent could think he has the right to threaten revocation of a lease because of what the pastor preaches in the pulpit. No public official is above the law. The First Amendment stands as a bulwark against homo-fascism.”
Originally the superintendent said Hakimian’s preaching and doctrinal statements about the biblical position on homosexuality somehow violated the district’s bullying and nondiscrimination policy.
Liberty Counsel told the superintendent, “The District must respect the First Amendment rights of Pastor Hakimian and the church. We will be prepared to take whatever legal action is necessary to protect these rights.”
In a memo to the school board, Carvalho said there will be no action to terminate the church’s lease: “The school district acknowledges the constitutional right of all persons to express themselves freely. Our firm belief is that, under the law, constitutionally protected freedom of speech for all, including those who lease our facilities, must be observed even when it may be perceived as offensive to some.”