After a group of police officers in Beaumont, TX were initially told not to have their Bible study at their police station by city officials, those officials have now reversed course after concerned citizens gave the officials feedback opposing the decision. On Saturday, Dec. 19, Kyle Hayes, the City Manager, informed the community about the decision to allow officers to continue their Bible study on their lunch breaks in the conference room of the police station.
When they were first told to stop, the officers told the officials that their constitutional rights were being violated by such a decision and they should have the freedom to choose how their lunch breaks were spent. They also explained how their faith helped make them better officers. The officers also retained an attorney to help them out, who stated, “They’re expecting that we hide our religious faith, that we keep to ourselves or keep it within our houses. A government employee does not shed their First Amendment rights when they enter the workplace. It is retained.”
In September is when the confrontation began. One of the officers who leads the Bible study subsequently filed a complaint with the EEOC and the officials backed off–that is, until the EEOC said they would refuse to investigate. Then city officials informed the officers again of their intention to reinstate the ban on Bible studies. Hayes claimed that part of the objection to the studies was that the officers were sending out email blasts to invite other city employees to attend.
Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick also weighed in on the situation to support the officers, which may have also helped persuade city officials to change their minds.
All in all, this is another lesson on how Christians should not back down when authorities improperly abuse their authority to try to violate our religious freedoms. There may be times we might lose the battle, but standing against opposition is worth the risk since opposition often comes at times when God is about to bring an awesome breakthrough to save souls and bring more glory to his name.
Let the lying lips be put to silence; which speak grievous things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous. Psalm 31:18
Source: Brandon K. Scott, Manuella Libardi, City changes stance on BPD officers Bible study, BeaumontEnterprise.com, December 19, 2015.