IFAS | Freedom Writer | Summer 2001 | cop.html

Christian cop fired

Arlington, Texas Sgt. George Daniels was no ordinary cop, he was a Christian cop, and proud of it. Once named Rookie of the Year, and Officer of the Year, the Medal of Merit-winning police officer lost his job because of his insistence on displaying his Christianity. Daniels added a gold Christian cross to the collar of his uniform, in violation of Arlington Police Department policy.

The police chief gave Daniels the option of wearing a Christian ring or bracelet, placing the cross under his collar, or transferring into a plainclothes unit, but the officer insisted on wearing the cross on his uniform. In 1998, he was fired for insubordination.

"It was never an issue of trying to suppress someone's right to express their religious faith," a department spokesperson said. "When police go into the community, they should be seen as unbiased and not taking sides. It's a fairness issue."

Sgt. Daniels sued, citing his First Amendment rights, and last October US District Judge Terry R. Means found that the Arlington Police Department was justified in firing the officer. Daniels appealed, and, in April, the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the earlier ruling saying that the department did not violate the First Amendment by barring officers from adorning their uniforms, even if the decorations included religious symbols.

Daniels's attorney, John W. Whitehead, of the Rutherford Institute, said that he might appeal to the US Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, Daniels is working for a police department in Colorado, where, one can assume, he wears his cross pin.

© 2001 Institute for First Amendment Studies, Inc.