Police Officer Resigns After Facebook Post on Traditional Marriage Landed Him on Leave
There must be a surplus of first responders in Georgia since cities can get rid of them for believing the Bible.
First, there was the fire chief canned by Atlanta for his self-published book on how men should do better as husbands and fathers.
Now there’s a police officer quitting the Port Wentworth Police Department after harassment — including suspension — for Biblical beliefs he put on Facebook.
I assume fire and police departments want upstanding people of integrity and character. Except for a certain kind of integrity and character — the Biblical kind.
Former Atlanta Fire Chief Kevin Cochran lost his job for writing that was critical of homosexuality and for saying that marriage was only between a man and a woman.
Jacob Kersey is leaving Port Wentworth, Georgia, police over his Facebook post outlining the concept in the book of Ephesians regarding the union of Christ and the church as a marriage. “God designed marriage. Marriage refers to Christ and the church.That’s why there is no such thing as homosexual marriage,” he posted.
Cochran’s 2015 firing eventually resulted him winning a $1.2 settlement with Atlanta over his lawsuit regarding free speech; Kersey’s Facebook comments got him a one-week suspension.
The day after his Jan. 2 posting, Kersey got a call from a supervisor telling him to take down his Facebook comments, according to The Daily Signal.·
Kersey refused. His supervisor threatened him with termination. Then, police Lt. Justin Hardy told Kersey the city feared liability if Kersey was involved in “use of force” involving an individual identifying as LGBT.
Kersey was ordered to turn in all his city property on Jan. 4 and believed he would be fired. Upon reporting that morning, he was met by Hardy, Maj. Lee Sherrod, Capt. Nathan Jentzen and Chief Matt Libby.
As a result of that meeting, Kersey learned that he was “being placed on administrative leave while the city investigated to see if I could keep my job,” he said.
“I was told that I was wise beyond my years, an old soul, and that they brag on me all the time, but that I couldn’t post things like that.”
Kersey recalled the police chief saying that the Facebook post was to homosexuals the equivalent of using racial epithets or saying “F*** all those homosexuals.”
Jentzen told Kersey his speech was restricted because he was a police officer.
Following a week on paid administrative leave, there was another meeting with police leadership. At that time he was told he still had a job and could post Scripture on social media as long as he was not putting out offensive opinions.
The reason for restricting his posts was a claim of separation of church and state, Kersey said. Also, he was told the police department was developing guidelines on what officers could post on social media.
January 13, Sherrod sent Kersey a letter saying “We did not find sufficient evidence to establish a violation of any policies.”
But the letter also contained an open-ended threat: “Please be aware that this notice, however, is not to be construed as an exhaustive finding that you have not at any time engaged in conduct violative of applicable policy or rendered you unfit for duty.”
Following that confidence-booster, Sherrod said other posts and podcasts Kersey was engaged in were deemed “likely offensive to protected classes and raise reasonable concerns regarding your objectivity in performance of your job duties when a member, or suspected member, of the LGBTQ+ community is involved.”
Sherrod wrote that Kersey was free to express himself on social media and believe what he wants as long as it did not restrict his ability to perform his duties. Allowing his beliefs to color how he does his job would result in him being fired, the letter said.
Sherrod added that Georgia recognizes homosexual unions as a form of marriage.
It seems clear Sherrod’s letter is not about holding Kersey to a standard of professionalism. Although the young man has only been with the Port Wentworth Police Department since May 2022, his quotes of police leadership speaking well of him indicate he’s been on top of the job.
Rather, the letter looks more like an attempt to bulletproof the city from a lawsuit if Kersey ever came close to having negative involvement with an LGBT individual or group.
Given the pressure on him and the minefield his job was becoming, Kersey resigned. “I just didn’t think it wise to go back and play their game,” he told the Daily Signal.
“The way things went down, I didn’t feel as if my command really had my back,” he said.
“If someone somewhere considers an opinion I have … to be offensive, then that would be a fireable offense,” Jacob Kersey says. https://t.co/4ryJtPeY7k
— The Pug (@thepugnews) January 25, 2023
An admirer of police officers involved in his parents’ custody battles when he was a child, Kersey isn’t sure what he’ll do now.
“I wanted to spend some time of my life learning what that meant to serve and to follow in the footsteps of people who invested in my life at a young age, and I was extremely excited about doing that,” Kersey said.
“But it seems, at least at that department that I was working at, that the only way that was possible is if I compromise my values, morals, and deeply held religious beliefs.
“I am grateful for the opportunity that I was given to be a police officer. I do not take that honor and responsibility lightly. However, my integrity and Christian beliefs are at the core of who I am, and I will not abandon them.”
Continuing as a police officer with a family to support, including through a retirement, might be a problem in the long-term because of the need to stand up for one’s beliefs, Kersey said.
But he told the Daily Signal he did not “want to be the man that sits passively by as the whole world, and my fellow countrymen, are deceived by the lies … happening in [the] culture.”
Whatever he does, Jacob Kersey looks like he’s moving in the right direction.
Too bad for Port Wentworth, Georgia. They’ll have to make do without him.
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