The Victorian, prudish, legalistic, starchy blue noses of the homosexual lobby have been in high dudgeon over the last several days. The object of their censorious wrath: a cop they claim refused to work a gay pride parade in Utah.
It turns out they were lying. The cop did not, in fact, refuse to work the parade. He just didn't want to lead it. He was originally assigned to the motor team which serves as the vanguard of the parade. That role would have essentially made him a participant in the parade, and created the impression he supported sodomy, something his deeply held religious convictions do not allow him to do.
He requested a behind-the-scenes role in patrol, traffic control or other police duties. In other words, he was perfectly willing to do his job of protecting and serving. He just didn't want to be the poster cop of homosexual activism.
For daring to act on his First Amendment rights, which guarantee "the free exercise" of religion, he has been demonized, vilified and suspended. His entire career has been placed in jeopardy. We can now add law enforcement to the growing list of occupations that are closing off to Christians. Being a Christian is now a hazard to your employment health if you are a baker, a florist, a photographer, a broadcaster, a counselor, a college educator, or a cop.
In a burst of manic hypocrisy and comical self-contradiction, police spokeswoman Lara Jones said:
"We don't tolerate bias and bigotry in the department, and assignments are assignments … To allow personal opinion to enter into whether an officer will take a post is not something that can be tolerated in a police department."
Ah, so. We don't tolerate bias and bigotry – unless it can be directed against a Christian. But if you agree with God and Christ about marriage and sexuality, we are going to land on you like a falling safe. The reality is that it's the leaders of the Salt Lake City police department who are the real intolerant bigots here, and bullies to boot.
Would the police chief have accommodated a black officer who didn't want to lead a KKK parade? I think so. A Jewish officer who didn't want to lead a Nazi-revival parade? I think so. Simple human decency – apparently in short supply in Salt Lake – would have dictated no less. The last remaining acceptable form of bigotry is that which is directed at followers of Jesus.
It strikes me as likely that this officer – who apparently had served without problems for seven years – may have been deliberately assigned a spot at the front of the parade just because his superiors knew he would chafe at the assignment. If so, this is more Nazi-esque tolerance from the Gay Gestapo: you don't approve of sodomy and don't want to serve as a figurehead for the deviancy cabal, we're going to stick the whole thing right in your face and dare you to act on your convictions just so we can kick you to the curb. We're going to make your life as miserable as possible until we can fire you or make you go away.
If leading the parade is such a coveted honor because of visibility, the police department should have volunteers tumbling all over themselves to take his spot, eager to show the world their open-minded support for a lifestyle which can leave participants disease-ridden and destined for an early death. He couldn't possibly be the only member of the force who could have served in this capacity.
This officer has retained counsel, as well he should. What the city of Salt Lake has done here is un-American, unconstitutional and flatly illegal. State law prohibits any discrimination in employment on the basis of religion, yet that is exactly what the city is guilty of here: flagrantly, blatantly discriminating against this officer on the basis of his sincerely held religious beliefs. Here's hoping he sues them for everything they've got and teaches Salt Lake City a lesson about freedom of conscience and liberty it will not soon forget.
Bryan Fischer is director of issues analysis for the American Family Association. He hosts "Focal Point with Bryan Fischer" every weekday on AFR Talk from 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. (Central).
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