19-Year-Old Police Officer Who Faced Possible Termination Over Biblical Facebook Post Receives Multiple Requests From Other Police Departments to Work
On January 2, Officer Jacob Kersey posted that marriage is between a man and a woman as a reflection of the church. He was told by his police department to remove it or face possible termination.
19-year-old Jacob Kersey was a young cop. He was hired by Port Wentworth Police Department in Georgia last May and finished the Academy just this September. Now the young police officer has resigned rather than face possible termination for posting his Christian beliefs about marriage on Facebook.
In a January 2 personal Facebook post — on his time off — Kersey wrote, “God designed marriage. Marriage refers to Christ and the church. That’s why there is no such thing as homosexual marriage.” It is a paraphrase of Ephesians 5.
The next day, Kersey was informed by his supervisor that someone complained about the post. His supervisor asked him to take it down. “I was told, you know, ‘You can either resign or if you want to continue working here, if you post your Christian beliefs like that again, you will be fired,'” he told The Stream. Kersey was placed on paid administrative leave on January 4.
After prayer, he chose to resign.
Molded by Christian Grandparents and Mentors
Kersey could easily have turned out on the wrong side of the law. Coming from a broken home, his young teenage years were tough. However, Kersey credits his strong faith and walking the straight and narrow to his Christian grandparents and mentors who poured into him as a young man. He told The Stream those mentors were “men who loved the Lord and dedicated their life to the Lord and patterned for me what it means to be a godly man.”
That, he says, helped him face his current challenge.
I think the Lord really used that to strengthen me and with His Holy Spirit working inside of me, He enabled me to, now that I was at this point earlier this year, you know, I had a decision to make, whether I wanted to just kind of be quiet about what Scripture teaches and, you know, just kind of go with the flow, or did I want to say, “No, I’m not going to remove [the post] because it’s biblical. It’s Scriptural. It’s clear teaching from the Word of God.” And I decided to go that route and effectively, you know, that cost me my job.”
It wasn’t that Kersey was flaunting his beliefs on the job.
I’m not preaching the gospel on a traffic stop. I’m not handing out gospel tracks at a domestic. I was off duty, not at work on my own platform and I’m doing what Christians do. I’m looking at Scriptures saying, ‘Hey, let’s unpack this. What does the Bible teach about this?’ When we go to church, we don’t simply go to the church and listen to someone, you know, quote five passages or five chapters of the Bible and then sit down.
My police department said that’s the only thing I’m allowed to do really is just post Bible verses. But we don’t do that as Christians. We take a passage of Scripture and we unpack it, we talk about it, we discuss it. But I was told that I can’t do that and I think that is a violation of my First Amendment right to freely and openly practice my religion. And I think a lot of the law enforcement community across the nation stands with me and agrees with me.
Kersey was clear in his conviction to stand for God’s Word. “Jesus said, ‘If you deny me before others, I’ll deny you before my Father,’ but if you stand for God and His Word, He will stand for you.”
Port Wentworth Police Department Admits Kersey Didn’t Violate Any Policies, But Worried About Objectivity. Outrageous, Says Kersey
Major Bradwick Sherrod of the Port Wentworth Police Department, in his January 13 letter to Kersey, stated that while Kersey had not violated any of the police department’s policies, his personal podcasts and posts raised “reasonable concerns regarding your objectivity in the performance of your job duties when a member, or suspected, member of the LGBTQ+ community is involved.”
Kersey said that the idea that he would treat anyone differently was outrageous. He continued:
Christians have those deeply held Christian beliefs and, you know, it’s not just about homosexuality. We have strong beliefs about all sexual immorality, we have strong beliefs about the value of human life and how abortion is murder. And we have strong beliefs about drunkenness being a sin, but as a police officer, I don’t go out there and treat people, you know, who are in the public any differently just because they’re sinners, for I, too, was a sinner and we all deal with the sin problem. When I went to work as a police officer, I treated everyone with courtesy, with fairness, with respect and I was professional what I did. But I still have my religious beliefs, religious convictions, and they are the core of who I am.
Kersey also said the Port Wentworth Police Department’s stand sets a very dangerous precedent, not only for police officers, but for anyone. “Christians are going to be told, ‘Well, you know, we can’t trust you because you have these deeply held beliefs and people are offended by it, and it’s hateful, you know? What you’re saying, what Scripture teaches is hate speech. You can’t be trusted.’ That’s where we’re going. Actually, no, we’ve already arrived there, and this is gonna spread like a wildfire if we don’t stand up against it.”
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Departments Across the Country Are Eager to Hire the Young Officer
Kersey has received calls, emails and posts on social media from police departments all around the country asking him to come work for them. “Here in Georgia and all over the nation [police departments] have said they stand with me, they support me, and that I should apply to go work for them in their police department. I’ve had them all the way out in California and way up north. I don’t think I plan on moving, but you know, I think there are a lot of police officers who look at this and say, ‘you know, I agree with Jacob.'”
In the wake of Kersey’s resignation, the Port Wentworth Police Department’s Chief of Police Matthew Libby suddenly retired. Jacob believes that’s no coincidence. “I think it has everything to do with what occurred. Now, the city’s not going to say it because the city doesn’t seem to want to address this issue at all.” In fact, the small town of 11,000 people hasn’t addressed Kersey’s resignation at all, despite it being a top story on Fox News, NEWSMAX, the New York Post, the Daily Mail and others. “They don’t want to have a conversation because they know they were wrong.”
Kersey’s experience won’t be the end of Christian persecution in the United States, although Kersey is very careful with the word “persecution.” “I’m careful about how I use the word persecution because I do understand that we have brothers and sisters across the world who are being put to death for standing for the Word of God and for the Gospel. But here in America we might not be called to do that, but we might be called to face the death of our dreams for our beliefs or the death of our reputation. The death of a job opportunity. And if we’re not willing to stand for God in the workplace, why do we think we’re going to stand for God at the chopping block?’
Nancy Flory, Ph.D., is a senior editor at The Stream. You can follow her @NancyFlory3, and follow The Stream @Streamdotorg.