Last June, officer Eric Moutsos was asked by the Salt Lake City Police Department to participate in a gay pride parade. As a member of the Motor Squad Unit, he was assigned to perform in the parade as a representative of his police department. Because this participation ran counter to his religious beliefs, he asked to switch assignments with another cop. He was denied. Not only that, he was suspended for discrimination. Fearing that he would no longer be able to effectively carry out his duties after being labeled a bigot, Moutsos resigned from the force.
Moutsos has secured a job with another Utah police department, but he’s decided the time is right to speak publicly about the ordeal. Monday, he released a six-page statement addressing the suspension, giving the public his side of the story for the first time. In doing so, he argues that there is a significant difference between carrying out the sworn duties of a police officer and what the department was asking him to do.
“I felt that by being an actual participant in the parade, I would be perceived to be supporting certain messages that were contrary to who I am,” Moutsos wrote. “I will protect their parade. But I just don’t want to be in the parade.”
The officer says that he had no issue with being at the parade if it meant protecting the safety of those involved. He argued that he had previously acted as security for same-sex couples in the wake of legalized gay marriage. However, he could not bring himself to participate in the parade itself, believing that it conflicted too strongly with his personal beliefs.
It’s those beliefs, according to Salt Lake Police Chief Chris Burbank, that a police officer must leave at home when they go on duty. “I will not tolerate bias, bigotry or hatred in the organization,” he said. “In order to be a police officer, you are to do the duties as assigned. And those duties cover a broad range of activities.”
Moutsos disagrees. “I don’t think there’s a possible way that I could be a police officer and check that at home. Because I desperately need my faith — especially in this line of work,” he wrote. “And I believe that’s not what America was intended to do. Everybody says that the separation of church and state means you can’t talk about God anywhere. But all that really means is the government can’t force you to believe a certain belief. And I truly believe I should be able to think and talk and be who I am wherever I’m at.”
The line between following orders and remaining true to one’s religious convictions is a thin one, especially with the way the world is rapidly changing. There are always two sides to the story, but it seems that Moutsos has the stronger case in this one. He didn’t flat-out refuse the assignment; he merely requested a trade. That he was labeled a bigot for adhering to his religious views is a sign of how much power the homosexual agenda carries in today’s America.