When Religious Liberty Becomes a Course Mandate: A Trump Judge’s Shocking Decision

Alright folks, buckle up, because the latest legal circus just hit Texas, and it’s got our heads spinning. The main act? A Trump-appointed judge essentially turning the courtroom into a Sunday school.

In a move that seems ripped straight from an Orwellian playbook, U.S. District Judge Brantley Starr directed Southwest Airlines’ lawyers to attend a “religious liberty training” by none other than the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). If you’re not familiar, ADF is a group so far-right in their Christian beliefs that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has them flagged as an extremist hate group. Yep, that’s who’s teaching our lawyers about “religious liberty.”

What was the catalyst for this eyebrow-raising decision? It traces back to a lawsuit initiated by an anti-abortion flight attendant, Charlene Carter. After being let go in 2017 for sending some, let’s say, disturbing content to her union president post-Women’s March, Carter alleged Southwest canned her due to her religious beliefs. Judge Starr took her side, and in a twist, mandated Southwest lawyers to get schooled by the ADF.

And here’s where it gets wilder: Judge Starr, a Federalist Society member known for his distinctly right-leaning verdicts, applauded ADF, hailing them as champions of free speech and religious freedom. In his decision, he even got biblical, bringing Adam and Eve into the mix.

But let’s take a deeper dive into the ADF. These guys are no strangers to stirring the pot. Not only did they throw their legal might behind an infamous Supreme Court case that chipped away at LGBTQ rights, but they also played a pivotal role in the Mississippi 15-week abortion ban. The ban that sent Roe v. Wade spiraling. And if you take a tour of their website, it’s evident they’re on a crusade against the “myth” of the separation of church and state. Ahem, didn’t we all learn about that in Civics 101?

Experts and advocates are, rightfully, sounding the alarm bells. Accountable.US’s Kyle Herrig didn’t mince words, slamming the judge’s move as essentially bending to the whims of extremist groups. And legal aficionado Mark Joseph Stern compared the training to a “re-education program.”

The implications here are far-reaching. What’s next? Are lawyers getting mandatory courses from fringe groups on every case? As Stern aptly pointed out, making attorneys undergo sessions that conflict with their personal beliefs and free speech rights teeters on the edge of legality.

Texas might be known for its big things, but this bold courtroom move is one for the books. And not in a good way. Stay woke, folks, and keep a close eye on that gavel.