LAST month Ralph Kersey, above, head of the Scotland County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina, decided to make God smile by introducing a new employment rule regarding the issue of cohabitation.
It will be prohibited for you to live with another while employed at the Scotland County Sheriff’s Office unless you are officially married according to the law and word of God, sisters, brothers, or family by blood.
This shall not apply to those whom are currently cohabitating. However, if your current relationship with the other party should cease, you will comply with the new policy change.
God may have nodded its approval, but when the The Freedom From Religion Foundation got wind of the new policy, which came into effect the day it was issued, it pointed out all that was wrong with Kersey’s memo:
FFRF has written to the Scotland County Sheriff’s Office requesting that it rescind this blatantly unconstitutional policy and immediately cease its enforcement. The sheriff’s office cannot endorse any religion and should not issue religiously discriminatory policies to be enforced against its employees, FFRF reminds the department.
“By instating a policy that limits employees’ behavior outside of work to that which you deem to be ‘according to the law and word of God,’ your office unconstitutionally promoted religion and threatens to punish those who believe differently,” FFRF Legal Fellow Brendan Johnson writes to Sheriff Ralph Kersey.
“This policy rests on archaic notions of biblical morality that have no place dictating modern workplace guidelines,” FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor comments. “It is a staggering violation of the rights of conscience of every Scotland County Sheriff’s Office employee.”
A report in the Laurinburg Exchange indicated that Kersey took fright and on Thurday let it be known that the directive had been scrapped.
I realized using the ‘law and word of God’ might be unfair, regardless of my own beliefs. But I also explained to them (the FFRF) that there is and never was an official policy established. Any policy created here comes only after employees are asked to sign a document. This situation went no further than a text.
Kersey said he recently met with employees:
To clear the air and let them know this would go no further. I wanted them to know that we would continue to operate as we always have and as other agencies in the state do.
This appeared to satisfy the FFRF. Said Patrick Elliott, senior counsel with the FFRF:
If he has since rescinded this policy, that would address our concerns. Of course, regardless of any written policies, Sheriff Kersey may not discriminate against employees in contravention of state and federal laws.
According to one person who commented on the Laurinburg Exchange report:
The FFRF is it is a communist front organization and as such it should be ignored. It is the group that tries to scare politicians and school boards all across the fruited plains with lies after lies about the constitution.
When the news of the new policy first broke, The Friendly Atheist pointed out that Kersey used the Scotland County Sheriff’s Office’s page – which declares “In God We Trust” – to post religious messages, the latest of which appeared in July: