Though I agree wholeheartedly with religious freedom to choose whether or not to professionally support causes that violate your personal moral convictions, I think one point is being overlooked. As a police officer, whenever you are in uniform you are an official representative of the city you serve, and therefore subject to the civil service requirements of that city as a condition of employment. Additionally, this motorcycle patrol of skilled maneuvers is something of a specialty position, likely limited to a select few who are trained to participate. Though I know the officer acted according to his personal conscience, requesting to change duty assignments would have affected the police department's effectiveness to carry out its specific duty. It is deeply regretful that the chief capitalized on this incident for what appears to be personal gain by publicly "campaigning" for support of the LGBT community. I'm also deeply saddened that this wonderful officer wasn't able to keep his job due to the sad reality that an officer in uniform must represent the city which he/she serves, whether they agree or not.
It's time that good people finally realize that the push for same sex marriage and other issues promoted by gay rights activists has never been about tolerance. It is not a "let's all get along" movement. It's rather an in-your-face, do-it-my-way movement that is trying to force others to condone their behavior. I'm not talking about gay people in general, most of whom I believe DO want to just get along. I'm talking about the gay rights activists who are agitating for these societal changes.
The true hate in this story seems to me to be coming from the police chief.
The Supreme Court, I believe, upheld the right of the organizers of the annual St. Patrick's Day parade in New York City to exclude a parade entry sponsored by a gay rights group. The court held that the parade organizers have a right of free speech to organize their parade around certain viewpoints, and not to have their speech hijacked by someone who disagrees and is critical. The gay rights folks can, after all, organize their own parade.To order the police officer to participate in the gay pride parade as part of entertainment that the police chief explicitly intended to stand as an endorsement of the message of the parade by the police department, is an abridgement of the officer's free speech rights, and does not in any way abridge the free speech rights of the parade organizers. The fact that the police chief had to lie about the facts in order to defend his action evidences that he thinks that his officers have no right to free speech of their own, and that he can use them to express his own political opinions.Would he fire a gay officer who declined to perform on the motorcycle drill team for the Days of '47 parade, which celebrates the Mormon pioneers who settled Utah? I really doubt it.
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