Friday, February 27, 2015

Where was his heart, his intent?

This is an important article.

I understand the many different, and difficult, sides of this issue:

1. Police are, and should be, held to a higher standard than everyone else. This police officer was given this assignment to participate in something while working and was not asked to participate on his own time. He had an obligation to do his job.

2. Given that, he tried to trade his shift with someone so that he did not have to participate. That would have been an easy thing to have done and why was he not allowed to do so?

3. His intent for not participating was important. If he had had to go to a wedding, or go out of town for a previously planned trip, either intent would have been innocent and should have been honored.

4. But, his intent was not innocent. He did not want to participate because it went against his personal feelings and religious beliefs- by participating, he felt, he would be showing he agreed with the "lifestyle" of the LGBT community, and he does not.

5. The police chief is exactly correct when he says that anyone working for the police cannot show bias or discrimination if they want to work for him and this department.

6. Should a police officer be "allowed" to take his "beliefs" with him into his job?

7. Should a police office be expected to "leave his beliefs" at home?

8. I teach in the public school system. I am expected to not show bias or discrimination in my work with students or their guardians. If I have students- and, I have had them- who want to grow up to be Nazis, do I, because I have such strong feelings and held beliefs against anything related to Nazis, have a right to discriminate or show bias against them? No, I do not.

9. Given that, I have never, while teaching, been asked to participate in any kind of "public performance" regarding the Nazis and what they believed and how they behaved. Had I been asked to, I would categorically and unequivocally have refused with every ounce of energy in my body.

10. This officer had, while on official duty, protected the LGBT community at various functions. He does not hate this community. As stated in this news article, he agrees with more than 90% of who this community is. He just felt, in this instance, that what he was being asked to do bordered not in protecting them- which he would have 100% done- but bordered in a public performance that would "show" he agreed with their "lifestyle", which he could not do. This perception of feeling like he would be shown to be in agreement with them was personally held by him. It was not a publicly stated perception.

In conclusion, and in my humble opinion: this is a complex issue. There are many things to consider. In the end, bias and discrimination can never be a part of an organization designed to serve and protect all peoples, religions, sexual orientations, etc. If the officer's intentions had been innocent, he should have been allowed to change his shift and not have been "made" to participate in the gay pride parade. But, his intentions were not innocent and thereby showed bias and discrimination. The police chief had every right to uphold this expectation of non-discrimination.