School district looks to evict controversial pastor
Pastor says he'll 'pray on' whether to sue
The Miami-Dade County school district is looking to evict a pastor who rents space in a public school to preach.
The district claims his sermons could promote prejudice.
But, Pastor Jack Hakimian calls it the word of God and freedom of speech.
"I don't think the school district wants to manage and oversee church policy," said Hakimian.
Hakimian preaches and teaches inside North Miami Senior High School every Sunday.In a recent sermon, he compared homosexuality to drug abuse and witchcraft.
Other sermons are titled: "Gays and Sex Addicts Can Change and Should Change" and "Pedophiles Use the Same Argument as Homosexuals and the Weed Smoking Community."
In a statement to Local 10, Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said Hakimian's teachings "appear to be contrary to school board policy, as well as the basic principles of humanity, and I have asked for immediate legal review to seek the termination of the contract that is involved. ... I am making this decision not on the basis of policy or politics but as a rejection of prejudice and intolerance."
"People should be uncomfortable with ideas that they don't agree with. That's what tolerance means," said Hakimian.
Local 10 has learned 90 different religious organizations rent space in a Miami-Dade school buildings. Religious rent generates $630,000 a year. Add all organizations, and $3 million a year is generated in rent. The money goes into the general fund.
Hakimian said he's being singled out.
A district spokesman said it appears Hakimian's words contradict a nondiscrimination policy, which includes sexual orientation.
The high courts have said school districts throughout out the U.S. have to give religious organizations equal access to facilities.
Hakimian pays the school district $1,400 a month to rent space. His contract doesn't expire until next June. When asked if he'd sue if he's thrown out, Hakaimian said he'd have to pray on it.
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