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Saturday, September 30, 2023

Judge Orders Religious Liberty Training for 3 Southwest Lawyers

'Inclusion has always been at the Heart of Southwest... '

(Molly Bruns, Headline USA) A federal judge ordered three lawyers employed at Southwest Airlines to attend “religious-liberty training” after the firing of a flight attendant for her pro-life beliefs.

U.S. District Judge Brantley Starr prescribed the training at the Alliance Defending Freedom, describing the Christian organization as “particularly well-suited” to provide the legal refresher to the three attorneys.

Starr also claimed that the lawyers did not adequately understand federal protections for religious freedom, the Daily Caller reported.

The airline fired 20-year employee Charlene Carter after she posted on social media criticizing a union boss, a fervent abortion supporter who attended the Women’s March in 2017.

The company let Carter go shortly after the posts; she filed a lawsuit and recently received $5.1 million in restitution.

Southwest Airlines will likely appeal the decision, including the training for the legally illiterate lawyers. The National Right to Work Foundation, who represented Carter in the initial case, offered to continue their representation pro-bono.

Legal professionals, such as director of the law and religion clinic at University of Texas Austin Steven Collins, questioned whether the judge stepped outside of his purview by assigning the training.

“I do think it’s questionable ordering that training to be done by a group that is clearly partisan on issues related to religious freedom,” Collins said. “He could have avoided criticism by ordering this from someone who is a little more neutral … use an academic instead.”

Douglas Laycock, a retired law professor at the University of Virginia, claimed that Southwest could argue that the Alliance Defending Freedom was a radical, fringe movement and would give distorted training.

Despite the obvious leftward tilt at the airline, Southwest continues to tout “inclusion” and “welcoming.”

“Inclusion has always been at the Heart of Southwest,” the company website reads. “Our Company was founded on the principle of putting People first, and we’ve never wavered from that commitment. That means all People.”

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