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Austin Cline

Officer Disciplined for Following Religious Conviction

By July 6, 2004

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Sometimes a personís religious convictions causes conflicts with their duties at their job. Forced to choose, many choose their religious principles and if the employer balks, a lawsuit may follow. Very often weíll see such people defended by conservative religious organizations, but not always - and that choice is illuminating.

David Gonzalez writes in The New York Times:

Officer Delacruz described himself as a religious man - with an unblemished record - whose attempts to temper his job with compassion collided with the department's zero-tolerance policy on homeless people. His lawyers argued that the department's homeless policy gave officers far less flexibility in negotiating with them, resulting in arrests for the most minor of infractions. "I did not want to compromise my position," he said. "Now I was facing something that was hard to do from the beginning, which was locking up the homeless without giving them a fair chance."
"What did St. Paul say? Fight the good fight of faith," he said. "I'm fighting for peace. To get back my life. I still have to deal with the possibility of being fired. All for doing something I believed was right." To the Police Department, an order is an order, and officers are not given leeway to choose which ones they follow. "The Police Department is a quasi-military organization where disobeying a superior's lawful order is a serious offense," said Paul J. Browne, the deputy commissioner for public information. "The penalty will be decided after trial, not before." He declined to comment further on the case.

If Gonzalez were following his religious conviction to speak out against gays on the police force, I am certain that groups like the American Center for Law and Justice would be right there to defend him. Unfortunately for Gonzalez, he isnít bashing gays or Muslims. Heís just trying to be a decent human being towards other human beings who are down on their luck. That doesnít interest the ACLJ and doesnít inspire them to defend his religious freedoms.

Curious, isnít it?

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Well said.

February 6, 2011 at 12:42 am
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