James, who will serve as an assistant to council President Tony Perkins, was a longtime colour commentator for ESPN who quit to run for U.S. Senate two years ago in Texas, where he grew up and starred at SMU. He finished fourth in the Republican primary.
During a campaign debate, James said he opposed gay marriage and that gay people would one day "have to answer to the Lord for their actions."
Fox Sports let him go, saying he was a "polarizing figure" who had "abused a previous on-air position to further a personal agenda." James has filed a complaint with the Texas Workforce Commission accusing Fox of violating his religious freedom.
Perkins said the Christian policy group was excited to add James.
"Craig has experienced the very workplace disqualification that cultural elites are seeking to impose throughout the country: expressing a politically incorrect opinion on a cultural issue, totally unconnected to employment, is enough to get you fired," he said. "With religious hostility reaching an all-time high, Craig will play a critical role in educating Americans about what they can do to stand up for freedom."
James was also involved in a long, high-profile fight with former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach over the treatment of James' son when he played for Leach. He has said he maintains private ranches and other business interests, and has not ruled out another run for public office.
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