What would you do as a Christian if your boss ordered you to attend a worship service at a Muslim mosque and ordered you to instruct your subordinates to also attend?
Would you comply and attend the service or would you stand up for your faith, knowingly risking your job?
That’s what happened to Capt. Paul Fields of the Tulsa police department back in March 2011. Home to famous Oral Roberts University, a Christian college, the Tulsa police department made a promise to local Muslims that they would send officers to attend a special event at the mosque to help them learn more about Islam. Officials asked for volunteers but none stepped forward so an order was issued to Fields to attend the event and to order some of his officers to also attend.
A week before the event took place, the same mosque held a dinner where Imam Siraj Wahhaj spoke. Wahhaj was an unindicted co-conspirator to the World Trade bombing that took place in 1993. A year prior to the bombing, Wahhaj told a gathering of New Jersey Muslims:
“If only Muslims were more clever politically, they could take over the United States and replace its constitutional government with a caliphate.”
Being a staunch Christian, Fields refused to attend or to order his officers to attend on the grounds of it violating his Christian faith. He sent an email to his superiors which read:
“Please consider this email my official notification to the Tulsa Police Department and the City of Tulsa that I intend not to follow this directive, nor require any of my subordinates to do so if they share similar religious convictions.”
Police officials took disciplinary actions against Fields. He was suspended for two weeks, stripped of his command post. Then he was transferred to another police division and placed on the graveyard shift. Fields believed his First Amendment rights of freedom of religion had been violated so he responded to the disciplinary action by filing a lawsuit against the police department. His case was taken up by the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC).
Surprisingly, the court ruled in favor of the police department, saying that Fields’s religious rights were not violated and that the department had the right to order him to attend the Islamic event. The case was appealed to the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. At the hearing, according to TMLC, Fields’ supervisor Maj. Julie Harris testified:
The Tulsa Police Department retaliated against Fields for exercising his constitutional rights.
Fields had the right to object to the order to attend the mosque because of his deeply held religious beliefs.
Fields was punitively transferred for invoking his constitutional rights.
There was no need for Fields to attend the mosque if he had a religious conviction against doing so and there was no crime to investigate.
Fields was the top performing shift commander in his division.
Fields’ punishment was inconsistent with other similarly situated officers of his rank.
The allegations of the internal investigation of Fields could not be sustained.
In May, the federal court upheld the lower court’s ruling.
The TMLC is now asking the US Supreme Court to hear the case. Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel for TMLC commented on the case:
“This case is another startling example of applying a double standard when Christian civil rights are involved. If this were a Catholic or Protestant prayer event, I am positive no Muslim police officer would have been ordered to attend. Further, no federal court would have approved the punishment of a Muslim officer had he refused to attend.”
An additional statement from TMLC stated:
“The event at issue, dubbed ‘Law Enforcement Appreciation Day,’ had nothing to do with any official police function. Rather, it included a mosque tour, meetings with local Muslims and Muslim leadership, observing a weekly prayer service, familiarizing the officers with Islamic religious books, and lectures on Islamic beliefs, Muhammad, Mecca, and how Muslims pray. The event was scheduled for Friday, March 4, 2011 – Friday being the Islamic ‘holy day.’”
Erin Mersino, attorney for TMLC handling Fields’ case stated:
“The matter is now ripe for the United States Supreme Court’s review. As the petition states, the city of Tulsa has been allowed to punish a public employee, Capt. Fields, for his right to seek redress of a civil rights violation in court. The Thomas More Law Center is hopeful that the United States Supreme Court will step in to right the wrongful punishment and retaliation Capt. Fields has faced because of his Christian beliefs.”
I agree with Thompson that no police department would order a Muslim officer to attend a Christian church or Jewish synagogue for any type of event. If they did and the Muslim refused for religious reasons I don’t believe that officer would be punished. But when it comes to a Christian standing up for their faith, forget it.
Our current liberal judicial system continually tramples on our constitutional rights. Christians are not allowed to live their faith, operate their businesses by their faith or stand up for their faith in the workplace. Christianity has been banned from the public schools, but many of them are teaching students about Islam, the Quran and Muhammad and no one blinks an eye. Muslims can hold a female only prom but Christians cannot hold a Baccalaureate service for graduating seniors.
And remember Wahhaj’s 1992 statement about Muslims taking over the US and replacing the Constitution with a caliphate? There are already Muslims in Congress, there is one in the White House and we’re seeing more and more of them on judicial benches. A Muslim judge in Pennsylvania acquitted a Muslim of beating a man at Halloween who dressed like a zombie Muhammad. The beating was witnessed by police but the judge told the victim that he greatly offended Islam and deserved to be beaten.
The question now is whether the Supreme Court will hear Field’s appeal or not. Will they look to uphold his First Amendment rights to freedom of religion or will they allow his rights to be violated by refusing the hear the case?