Christian Teacher Who Was Forced To Resign Over Refusal To Use Transgender Pronouns Accuses School Of Religious Discrimination

Student listening to teacher in classroom

High school music teacher John Kluge was forced by Brownsburg High School in Indiana to resign after he refused to follow a district-wide policy mandating that teachers use the preferred gender names and pronouns of trans-identifying students.

His forced resignation came about despite the fact that he had reached a compromise with the school administrators who agreed that Kluge was only to call students by their last names.

The lawsuit alleged that the Indiana school district violated his rights under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which requires employers to "reasonably employee's...religious observance or practice" unless it creates an "undue hardship," the Christian Headlines reported. The brief of Kluge, who was described in the lawsuit as a "man of deep Christian faith," said that the Christian teacher was only asking that his compromise accommodation would be allowed, thereby "[allowing] him to stay neutral on transgender issues and focus on teaching music."

The district court ruled against Kluge, but the Christian teacher appealed to the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. He is being represented by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). The opening brief was filed on Friday.

In a January 2020 order, Kluge's claims were dismissed by Indiana Southern District Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson, who said that allowing Kluge his accommodation "resulted in complaints that transgender students felt targeted and dehumanized," which lawsuit brought by a transgender student could have been successful. She added that the Christian teacher did not present evidence that proved the "causal connection" between his protected rights and his resignation and evidence that the school's actions against him were pretextual or motivated by retaliatory animus, the Indiana Lawyer reported.

Kluge's lawyers on the other hand, fired back, saying that the district found the accommodation "reasonable" and granted it, but teachers and students continued to complain about his religious accommodation, causing them to pressure the Christian teacher into leaving instead. When Kluge refused to resign, they revoked the accommodation and did not tolerate any exceptions to its transgender-affirmation rules, forcing Kluge to be terminated from his job.

"The voices against tolerance and religious accommodation had won, even though no one in our society - in school or out - has a right to demand confirmation 'of their beliefs or even their way of life,'" the brief stated. The case also alleges that the district's transgender affirming policy will "require him to tell a dangerous lie to his students and would be perilous to his own soul."

Across the U.S., more educators and parents are speaking out against transgenderism on campus. Just this September, Loudoun County parents and residents took to the streets outside the school board headquarters in Ashburn, Virginia to oppose the school system's transgender student policy, WTOP News reported.

Tanner Cross, who is at the center of a battle with the Loudoun County school district following his refusal to acknowledge its transgender policies, was suspended from his job. But the Virginia Supreme Court sided with a judge who ordered Cross' reinstatement.

Cross said in addressing the crowd gathered in Ashburn, "My win is a win for all teachers across the country who want to stand up for the good of their students."