PORT WENTWORTH, Ga. – A Georgia police officer who was the subject of an internal affairs investigation due to a religious opinion posted to social media felt pressured to resign even though the department acknowledged there was no violation of policy.
The post by former officer Jacob Kersey said, “There’s no such thing” as gay marriage. Kersey worked for the Port Wentworth Police Department in Georgia. The pressure to resign was present since he was told he could be fired for sharing his spiritual beliefs, Fox News Digital reported.
The young police officer quit earlier this month after he was placed on paid administrative leave Jan. 4 when he refused to remove the Facebook post he made regarding his sincere Christian belief as it related to the institution of marriage as outlined in the Bible.
“God designed marriage,” Kersey wrote in the post. It came to the attention of his superiors by “an anonymous complaint,” according to a Jan. 13 letter of notification first reported by the Daily Signal. “Marriage refers to Christ and the church. That’s why there’s no such thing as homosexual marriage.”
Although Kersey wasn’t terminated at the conclusion of the investigation, he chose to resign since he was told he could face termination for future social media posts that others find offensive.
Police Major Bradwick Sherrod explained in a letter to Kersey that while the department’s investigation into his social media posts “did not find sufficient evidence to establish a violation of any policies,” his posts regarding “protected classes” such as the LGBTQ community “could raise reasonable concerns regarding your objectivity and the performance of your job duties when a member or suspected member of the LGBTQ+ community is involved.”
“As we have discussed previously, please be reminded that if any post on any of your social media platforms, or any other statement or action, renders you unable to perform, and to be seen as able to perform, your job in a fair and equitable manner, you could be terminated,” the letter admonished.
The letter of notification sent to Jacob Kersey on Jan. 13 informing him that same-sex marriage is legal in Georgia and that he could be terminated for future posts on social media. (Jacob Kersey)
“I did nothing wrong, and they told me that,” Kersey said of a meeting he later had with department leadership. “That’s the reason they did not fire me. They wanted me to come back to work, but they were trying to create a new department policy that would prevent me from saying anything that someone somewhere could consider offensive.”
Kersey was told he could post direct quotes from Scripture, but could not offer his interpretation of them, Fox reported.
“That is such a dangerous precedent: that if you’re off-duty on your own time, that you could say anything — even something religious, even something at church — if someone somewhere gets offended, you can get fired for it,” he said.
Kersey decided he had to resign Jan. 18 to avoid inevitable termination and potential danger.
“I didn’t feel confident that if I were to go out there on the streets and enforce the law, that my command staff was going to have my back,” he said. “It’s just too dangerous of a job to do that. And I did not think it wise to go back to work under those circumstances.”
“I think if you compromise your integrity and your religious beliefs and your faith to win, then you’ve lost, and I just couldn’t do that,” he added.
Kersey said he wanted to become a police officer because of the positive impact officers made on him when he was growing up in a broken home.
“I joined the police department, and for over eight months, I only heard great things about my work,” he said. “People had nothing but good things to say about my work as a police officer.”
Jacob Kersey told Fox News Digital that he hopes his story will encourage other people and especially Christians to stand up for their beliefs. (Jacob Kersey via Fox News)
Kersey said he remains uncertain what his career aspirations are now that he has left the department.
“In America, most of us will not be called to face physical death for our beliefs,” he said. “But we might be called to face the death of our dreams, we might be called to face the death of our reputation, or we might be called to have other people think bad things about us. But what’s important is what God thinks about us.”
The city of Port Wentworth has about 11,000 residents and is located in the Savannah metropolitan area. The police department did not respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.
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