South Carolina

Catholic school teacher fired for Facebook posts on abortion rights, SC lawsuit says

Churches are dying across South Carolina — but the Catholic Church is thriving

Studies show that churches are dying across South Carolina — and much of the country. But one segment of Christianity is actually growing: The Catholic Church. Here's what's helping the church grow — and how Beaufort County's affected.
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Studies show that churches are dying across South Carolina — and much of the country. But one segment of Christianity is actually growing: The Catholic Church. Here's what's helping the church grow — and how Beaufort County's affected.

A Catholic school teacher says she was fired for posts on Facebook supporting abortion rights, according to a lawsuit filed this week in South Carolina.

Elizabeth Cox taught at the Bishop England High School in Charleston for 16 years, according to the lawsuit. She said the private school, run by the Diocese of Charleston, fired her at the end of the last school year because of her posts on social media.

A termination letter attached to the lawsuit says, “The School has become aware that you have a public Facebook account which identifies you as a teacher at our school and publicly supports abortion.”

“As you know, this is contrary to the mission of the Church and our school and is materially incompatible with your duties as a Catholic School teacher,” the letter said.

One of the posts is a Gloria Steinem quote that begins: “How about we treat every young man who wants to buy a gun like every woman who wants to get an abortion — mandatory 48-hour waiting period, parental permission, a note from his doctor proving he understand what he’s about to do.”

In her lawsuit, the teacher argues the school and the principal “committed a criminal offense by discharging Plaintiff because of her political opinions, free speech and/or exercising the political rights and privileges guaranteed by the United States and/or the South Carolina Constitutions.”

The lawsuit says the school fired Cox for three Facebook posts.

One post includes a link to a Washington Post story, without comment from the teacher, with the headline “Leslie Jones leads the charge against Alabama’s abortion ban in the SNL season finale.”

Another post says, “I’ll start believing you’re pro-life when you,” and then lists things like “ban guns” and “have free healthcare for all.”

The Diocese of Charleston and the school have not yet responded to the lawsuit.

Former teacher of year at Charlotte Catholic High, Lonnie Billard says he lost his last job as a substitute with the school after a 2014 Facebook post announcing his wedding plans to his longtime male partner.

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Charles Duncan covers what’s happening right now across North and South Carolina, from breaking news to fun or interesting stories from across the region. He holds degrees from N.C. State University and Duke and lives two blocks from the ocean in Myrtle Beach.
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