Friday, July 11, 2003

Police and Religious Beliefs

The 7th Circuit issued an interesting decision yesterday involving a policeman who claimed that it violated his religion for him to be assigned to guard a casino. A few quotes from Easterbrook's opinion:
Many officers have religious scruples about particular activities. Does [the law] require the state police to assign Unitarians to guard the abortion clinic, Catholics to prevent thefts from liquor stores and Baptists to investigate claims that supermarkets mis-weigh bacon and shellfish? Must prostitutes be left exposed to slavery or murder at the hands of pimps because protecting them from crime would encourage them to ply their trade and thus offend almost every religious faith?"

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Law-enforcement agencies need the cooperation of all members. Beyond all of this is the need to hold police officers to their promise to enforce the law without favoritism.
* * * Firefighters must extinguish all fires, even those in places of worship that the firefighter regards as heretical. Just so with police.


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