A former high-ranking temple member who sued Texas in 2014 for discriminating against her says she’s confident the court will find the temple a Christian institution.
In an affidavit filed in Texas District Court in Austin last week, Sarah Kopp, who says she was ordained as a minister in 2014 and is now married, said her claim against the temple for violating her civil rights was settled in November, three years after the temple opened in 2014.
Temple leaders told Kopp in a letter that they “will not be held responsible for any violations” of her religious beliefs or conduct that “would violate our tenets of religious liberty.”
In July, Kopp said she was awarded $1.9 million in damages, a record in Texas.
Kopp’s lawyer, David Schindler, did not respond to a request for comment.
In the affidavit, Kops affidavit reads: I was born and raised a Christian in this great state.
I am very proud of our state’s history, tradition and beliefs.
When I was younger, I felt like I was a member of a family and I felt that our religious freedom is guaranteed by our Constitution.
In addition to my personal beliefs, I believe that religion should not be used as an excuse for discrimination and that religious institutions are not required to adhere to the same standards of conduct as secular institutions.
“I am certain that the court would find Temple of the West a Christian organization,” Kopp wrote.
“It would also be a clear violation of my civil rights for the temple to discriminate against me.”
Temple of of the Western is a Christian temple based in Houston.
Kops husband, John Kopp Sr., who is also a pastor at Temple of, filed the lawsuit in Texas against the state and several former leaders, including its president and two directors.
In October, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned a district judge’s decision that allowed the suit to proceed.
The ruling came in a case called Burdett v.
City of Houston.
In that case, a jury found the city of Houston, a member, violated religious freedom rights of the plaintiffs, by not allowing them to hold worship services.
In February, the court ruled that the city had no duty to accommodate the worship services that Kopps husband, the late John Kops Sr., had requested be held at the temple.
Kapps lawsuit is still pending.
Temple of Texas spokeswoman Erin McPherson said the church is not commenting on the court case.
“We are evaluating the court action, and are fully supportive of Sarah’s claims,” she wrote in an email.
Temple’s leaders are appealing the decision to the Texas Supreme Court.
Temple spokesman David Schmittler said the case is still under appeal.
Temple members often receive a religious education at the church, and Temple of The Western has a “religious mission” to spread Christianity in Houston, Schmittlers said.
“The church will continue to be committed to the highest standards of religious expression,” he said.
Temple spokeswoman Erin Kopp has said she wants to see more temple leaders be more transparent and open about the religious education they offer.
Temple Of The Western’s board of directors include former leaders of the Church of Scientology and the Unitarian Universalist Association.
The church’s website says the church “was founded in 1971 in the city’s historic Temple District in Houston.”
Temple leaders have said that the organization has “an unbroken history of serving and serving as a Christian church in Texas and around the world.”
In a statement, the church said it “reaffirms the integrity and dignity of every member and commits ourselves to building a church that honors the dignity of all people.”
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.