Army and Police Officer Nearly Fired For Religious Beliefs
Last week, in two separate instances both reported from the CBN (Christian Broadcast News), the freedom of religion continues to be threatened in the form of two officials nearly losing their jobs over their beliefs. Despite the freedom of religion being an inherent right established by the Constitution of the United States, both have had to defend themselves from being put out of work by divisiveness within their own establishments.
In the first case involving Chaplain Major Andrew Calvert of the U.S. Army, the Christian man had been suspended from service for sharing his religious beliefs online.
Calvert has 16 years of service to the Army and has been deployed to numerous combat zones over the years. He was awarded the Bronze Star and three Meritorious Service Medals during that time.
Despite this, on April 22nd, Lieutenant General Robert P. White, the commander of Fort Hood, Texas, issued a formal reprimand ending Calvert’s decorated career. The reason for this came down to a claim that an old Facebook post had violated Army policy. In the post, Calvert shared his opinion that scientific evidence supported Department of Defense policy at the time that excluded transgender service members. This was the policy at the time of the post. However, that policy has recently changed under the DOD. After this change, Calvert was put under investigation and his service employment was effectively terminated.
To rescue Calvert’s career, First Liberty Institute took up the case and appealed the reprimand. General of the Institute Mike Berry said to CBN that, “Chaplain Calvert is a decorated soldier with an exemplary record. He faces having his career ruined simply because he expressed his religious views on his personal Facebook page. Throughout Caplain Calvert’s military career, he has personified selfless service and sacrifice. He has also shown a desire to provide for the spiritual needs of those under his care. Punishing a chaplain because of their expressed religious beliefs is illegal and wrong”.
Thankfully, as of this week, Calvert has been cleared of all wrongdoing.
The Army has decided not to issue the reprimand. Berry said, “We’re very happy for Chaplain Calvert and we commend the Army for making the right decision. No service member should ever be punished because of their religious beliefs”.
Calvert said for himself about the decision that, “I am grateful for this favorable decision, and I look forward to continue meeting the spiritual needs of the soldiers with whom I serve”.
In another case, reports of an unidentified Police Officer of the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department have come out in the same vein.
Here, the off duty officer was investigated for praying with his own family Father in front of an abortion clinic. The officer was not in uniform and the abortion clinic was not open. Nobody was even around. He quietly prayed with his own family in front of EMW Women’s Surgical Center before dawn. He then went into work afterwards later that day.
Upon his arrival back at the job and going out on his regular patrol, he returned to the office to discover that they were placing him on administrative leave with pay pending an investigation. The officer of 13 years with no record of disciplinary violations and a family of four children and a wife ended up on indefinite leave. All because he was praying in public at an abortion clinic on his own time.
The Thomas More Society took up the case defending the officer and attorney Matt Heffron said, “None of the officer’s off duty prayer was covered by the LMPD allegations, and any formal punishment, under these circumstances, would violate his First Amendment rights”.
As of today, after four months of investigation and trial, the officer is back at work again.
Heffron said about the case results that, “We are happy for the officer that the LMPD finally did the right thing and put a good policeman back on the streets. But it is astounding to those of us defending him – shocking actually – that the police department would treat a hardworking, loyal officer this way. They left him twisting in the wind for four months because of off – duty prayer”.
Order and justice were restored in both cases, thankfully. However, this still seems like the sort of issues that should never even happen within the United States of America. The foundational values of the constitution forbid it. We must maintain freedom within our institutions. The mere fact that these instances occurred should raise major red flags for Christians and lovers of the freedom of speech and religion all over. We must continue to share light upon each occurrence of the mishandling of power over our own people. No matter if you are a military officer, a police officer or a public citizen. For freedom, liberty and justice for all.