Grayson Fritts, the Tennessee sheriff’s deputy/pastor who gave a sermon calling for LGBT people to be put to death, has been given a buyout and allowed to resign rather than be fired. And his boss says that’s because firing him would violate his First Amendment rights. I’m virtually a free speech absolutist, and I can say without hesitation that he is totally wrong.
Knox County Sheriff Tom Spangler said his fear of First Amendment lawsuits is keeping him from firing a detective who called for the killing of LGBTQ community members.
Instead, Spangler is allowing Grayson Fritts to take a voluntary buyout that the sheriff says was approved before controversy erupted over a hate-laced sermon the detective delivered June 2.
Spangler told Knox News on Friday that “we looked at every avenue we could look at without violating anybody’s First Amendment rights (and) freedom of speech
Absolute nonsense. Free speech is not an unlimited right; no right is. And if he was just a preacher who said that, I’d excoriate him for it but still support his constitutional right to say it. But as a government employee whose job is to administer justice fairly and equally, it’s a clear violation of his oath of office to think that some of the people he is charged with protecting and serving should be murdered by the state because he doesn’t approve of them. There is no free speech issue there.