There has been a false idea promoted in America. For the last several decades, we have been lead to believe that if you hold a position of power in government, you cannot speak of your faith. Having a religion is not a problem, but you cannot promote that religion from your place of power. Then, to see a man in a sheriff’s uniform while preaching in a Baptist Church might make some uneasy. This happened in Florida recently.
A Florida sheriff is facing outrage after he delivered a Sunday morning sermon while wearing his uniform.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation says Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd broke the law when he delivered that sermon at the First Baptist Church in Lakeland. They fired off a three-page letter accusing the sheriff of “promoting the church and its religious views.”
FFRF must first tell us which law was broken. They cannot tell us that because there were no laws broken when Sheriff Judd preached in his uniform. As far as the claim Judd was promoting the church, I would have to say that was a stretch. It would be like me promoting a movie theater before a movie at that theater. The congregation and visitors were there already.
According to WFLA, he was promoting a Christian worldview.
The sheriff spoke to more than 2,500 people in a message titled “Wouldn’t the World be a Better Place if Everyone Behaved like a Christian. Using examples of faith-based practices he started in the Polk County jail, he gave first-hand accounts of how lives have changed for the better. He pointed out that hundreds of inmates have given their lives over to Jesus and been baptized while serving time in Polk County. First Baptist Church at The Mall Pastor Jay Dennis told News Channel 8 that Judd addresses his congregation every year.
So, a Christian was promoting his Christian beliefs in a Christian Church. How dare he! And I know, he was wearing his work clothes, but this does not make anyone think that there is a state endorsement of Christianity because of that fact. The fact of the matter is, much like we have seen in the military; they want to stifle all signs of faith in law enforcement.
In a statement to WFLA, Dennis said, “The uniform represents more than the office, it represents the man behind it. It is the man behind it that I asked to speak whether he is in uniform or out of uniform. I would think people would be proud to have a sheriff whose life and message, speech and conduct, is consistent with everything that uniform stands for. Grady asked me if I would prefer he wear a suit, but as I said to him, ‘It doesn’t matter to me. You are the message.'”
Many times, this and other organizations threaten and that is all that is required. Many people, fearing high lawyer fees and bad public relations, simply fold at the threat. This does not seem to be one of those times.
Judd said he speaks to about 15-20 churches a year and has no plans to slow down or change clothes. “Let me say this clearly and unequivocally, when people call the Sheriff’s Office and ask me to come speak, I’m gonna come speak and I’m gonna wear my uniform- you can guarantee it,” Judd said.
We can only hope that Sheriff Judd will have the courage and faith to win the day. May God grant him both in the upcoming days.