A Georgia police officer resigned last week after being placed on administrative leave for sharing his religious beliefs on social media.
Jacob Kersey, 19, told The Daily Signal that he gave up his position with the Port Wentworth Police Department after weeks of being attacked for a 20-word Facebook post that expressed his traditional views on marriage.
"God designed marriage. Marriage refers to Christ and the church," Kersey wrote in a Jan. 2 post. "That's why there is no such thing as homosexual marriage."
Kersey said his superior officer told him to delete the post the next day because someone had complained. After he declined to do so, Kersey said his superior told him he could be fired if he did not remove the post.
Lt. Justin Hardy, another superior, then contacted Kersey and told him the department did not want to be held liable in a "use of force" incident with an LGBTQ individual, the Signal reported.
Kersey again refused and soon received a call from Maj. Lee Sherrod. According to Kersey's account, he was told to bring all the items in his possession that belonged to the city to a meeting with Sherrod on Jan. 4.
The officer, who had been with the department since last May, arrived at the meeting believing he was about to be fired, but was instead told he was "being placed on administrative leave while the city investigated to see if I could keep my job."
"I was told that I was wise beyond my years, an old soul, and that they brag on me all the time, but that I couldn't post things like that," he told the Signal.
In an attempt to hammer the point home, Police Chief Matt Libby told Kersey that what he wrote in his Facebook post was "the same thing as saying the N-word and 'F*** all those homosexuals,'" according to Kersey.
He was also told that while he had free speech, it "was limited due to my position as ... a police officer," Kersey said.
After a week on paid administrative leave, Kersey returned and was told he would not be fired but could not share "offensive" opinions on his social media.
Department leadership cited "separation of church and state" in their decision, Kersey said, and said he could not share his "interpretation or opinion on Scripture if it was deemed offensive."
Kersey next received a letter from Sherrod dated Jan. 13 that explained that although he is entitled to his own personal beliefs, he should 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 [unable] to perform, your job in a fair and equitable manner, you could be terminated."
Four days later, Kersey resigned his position.
"I decided to resign ... because I just didn't think it wise to go back and play their game," he told the Signal. "The way things went down, I didn't feel as if my command really had my back."
When reached by phone, a dispatcher at the Port Wentworth Police Department told Newsmax none of the command staff were available to comment.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.