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SLC officer in parade controversy speaks out on religious liberty

SALT-LAKE-CITY-PRIDE

SALT LAKE CITY — Eric Moutsos doesn’t believe he should have to leave his personal convictions at home when he walks out the door to go to work — particularly his religious beliefs.

But his former boss, Salt Lake Police Chief Chris Burbank, says when an officer shows up to work for his department, that officer is expected to do their job. And if there is any hint that any personal biases may get in the way of doing their assigned duties, then that’s a problem.

Moutsos was placed on leave in June after allegedly trying to switch assignments to avoid participating in the city’s gay pride parade. He resigned from the force after his suspension became public.

police officer

On Monday, Moutsos issued a six-page statement about that experience, the first time the former Salt Lake police officer has told his side of the story.

In light of current debate on Utah’s Capitol Hill concerning legislation to balance anti-discrimination with religious freedoms, Moutsos said he felt now was an important time to speak out.

At first, he wanted to remain anonymous. But after the KSL independently verified his identity, Moutsos agreed to an interview with his name being used.

By stepping forward, Moutsos hopes all sides can agree to come together, even if they don’t see eye-to-eye on every issue.

“These issues need to be addressed. There are so many good people, no matter what it is you believe,” he said. “I think what’s happened here is that we’re just getting more divisive on this issue. (Some might say) just because you may disagree with somebody means that you hate them. And that’s just not true. Because I love people. I’ll take a bullet for you. I’ll protect you. But I will not advocate certain things in people’s lives.”

In June of 2014, the Salt Lake City Motor Squad Unit was asked to participate in the Utah Pride Parade in Salt Lake City, which included performing choreographed maneuvers on motorcycles.

Moutsos, a member of the unit, was told to participate. But because of his personal beliefs, he said he felt uncomfortable doing so.

Moutsos said he had no problem performing his duty to protect and serve. The officer had previously provided security as same-sex couples flocked to the Salt Lake City-County Building to be married following a federal court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.

But in this case, Moutsos felt that what he was being asked to do was more for entertainment.

“I felt that by being an actual participant in the parade, I would be perceived to be supporting certain messages that were contrary to who I am,” he said. “I will protect their parade. But I just don’t want to be in the parade.”

“I felt that by being an actual participant in the parade, I would be perceived to be supporting certain messages that were contrary to who I am. I will protect their parade. But I just don’t want to be in the parade.”
–Eric Moutsos

Moutsos said he sent an internal email asking to swap assignments with another officer. He said he was not opposed to providing traffic control for the parade and blocking streets for pedestrians.

But his request was denied.

“That’s when I knew there was going to be a problem,” he said.

Moutsos told his supervisor he was still willing to be part of the parade and sent an email saying he’d be ready for practice and to participate in the parade itself.

“Two days later I was brought into one of the commander’s offices. They took my badge and my gun for discrimination. My sergeant then drove me home and took all of my equipment, said I could not perform as a police officer. I thought I was in a dream. I was devastated,” he said.

Two days after being placed on administrative leave, Moutsos’ story became worldwide news. Moutsos said he was immediately branded a “bigot” and knew he would no longer be able to work in Salt Lake City. He resigned from the department a short time later.

“I didn’t know what I was going to do. I didn’t think anyone would touch me,” he said.

Since then, Moutsos has been hired by another Utah law enforcement agency. But he said the past six to seven months have been a “battle.”

“I wanted to just hide,” he said. “I think about it every single day. I haven’t been able to sleep a full night’s sleep.”

Now Moutsos wants the public to know that reports saying he refused to work the parade were inaccurate.

“I have protected free speech events several times that I disagreed with. But I will protect them. I believe in the First Amendment — so much that even if I disagree with a particular message, I will still be there to protect it. Because without them being able to say what they want to say, I wouldn’t be able to say what I want to say.

“It wasn’t about protection or security. What I felt was that, ‘You are going to be a participant and look like you advocate this particular cause. And I don’t,'” he said. “We should be there to protect everybody’s rights. But I felt the participation was a little much.”

Moutsos believes his request to switch assignments was blown out of proportion and could have been resolved quickly and quietly internally.

Burbank, however, said Moutsos resigned before internal affairs investigators had a chance to sit down and talk about it.

Related Story
Officer refuses Utah Pride Parade assignment, placed on leave
SALT LAKE CITY — A Salt Lake police officer has been placed on leave for refusing an assignment at this weekend’s gay pride parade. “We don’t tolerate bias and bigotry in the department, and assignments are assignments,” said department spokeswoman Lara Jones.
However, the chief said, once there’s a hint of bias in his department, he will address it immediately.

“I will not tolerate bias, bigotry or hatred in the organization,” he told the KSL Tuesday. “In order to be a police officer, you are to do the duties as assigned. And those duties cover a broad range of activities.

“With police officers — and this is the problem across the nation right now — you have to be able to do your job and set your personal feelings aside in order to equally distribute law enforcement and good will from the police department no matter where you are in this country, to every individual regardless of their religion, their race, their creeds, what gender they are or what sexual orientation they might be,” he said.

Once someone outwardly expresses bias towards an individual or group, Burbank said, “how are you ever going to limit the liability and the exposure that you give to the public for someone who may be in plain bias? How can they ever say, ‘No, I never let it come into play when it came into play in other aspects of their job?'”

Moutsos has a message to the LGBT community: “I say to them that I love you. I probably agree with 95 percent of your life or more. And I wish we could find the things that we do agree with and build from there. But there are just certain messages that I will never advocate.”

One of the statements that Moutsos said hurt him the most was when he was told to leave his personal beliefs at home.

“I don’t think there’s a possible way that I could be a police officer and check that at home. Because I desperately need my faith — especially in this line of work,” he said. “And I believe that’s not what America was intended to do. Everybody says that the separation of church and state means you can’t talk about God anywhere. But all that really means is the government can’t force you to believe a certain belief. And I truly believe I should be able to think and talk and be who I am wherever I’m at.”

Burbank acknowledged that officers frequently ask to switch shifts with each other. “But you have to ask yourself, ‘What are you really thinking if you’re going to put forth that view to other people in the police department and to the administration of the police department? Are you really fit to be a police officer? That calls into question someone’s judgment if you ask me,” he said.

“To actually say or indicate that that’s the reason, then that’s also a question of judgment that I have. They’re not setting their personal feelings aside. Everyone comes to this job with bias and prejudice. But in order to do the job appropriately, you need to be able to set that aside or otherwise you’re not going to do that job for me.

“I’m not asking him to do this on his own time. This is on the police department time, representing the police department,” Burbank continued, giving emphasis to the last three words. “What the officers choose to do on their own time is one thing. But what they choose to do at work, I’m going to give direction, and you set your personal feelings aside. It’s the only way we can function best.”

Contributing: Ashely Kewish and Keira Farrimond

George Soros Gave $10 Million to Group Slamming Conservative “Islamophobia”

Soros

Newsbusters: A liberal group funded by billionaire George Soros is accusing conservatives and the “religious right” of fear-mongering and slandering Islam. According to the Center for American Progress, the right has been coordinating to push “Sharia hysteria” which “mischaracterizes Sharia as a totalitarian ideology of hate and triumphalism committed to replacing the U.S. Constitution with a radical Islamic caliphate that will subordinate and punish all non-Muslim adherents.”

Soros has donated $10,117,186 to CAP since 2000. The group argued this “Sharia hysteria” is comparable to Japanese Americans being interned during WWII “because they were seen as ‘others’,” or to opposition to John F. Kennedy’s presidency on the basis of his Catholic faith.

The report, entitled “Fear, Inc.” invoked a liberal term, “echo chamber,” to claim conservatives were working together. “The efforts of a small cadre of funders and misinformation experts were amplified by an echo chamber of the religious right, conservative media, grassroots organizations, and politicians who sought to introduce a fringe perspective on American Muslims into the public discourse.”

Ironically, the term “echo chamber” is specifically mentioned by the Soros-funded Media Consortium. That group is a network of 68 left-wing media outlets ranging from Alternet to The Young Turks. The Media Consortium has received $675,000 from Soros’ Open Society foundations.

That’s not the only thing wrong with “Fear, Inc.” Contrary to CAP’s claims, Sharia law is by nature a push for an Islamic theocracy. According to David Reaboi, at the time of this quote a spokesperson for the Center for Security Policy, “the Sharia contain numerous explicit punishments and exhortations to violence against the non-Muslim that (very significantly) have been reaffirmed through the centuries and until today.”

Podesta and Obama

Podesta and Obama

John Podesta, founder and president of the Center for American Progress, was recruited by the White House in December of 2013 to be a counselor to President Obama. His close relationship to George Soros and Tom Steyer (another liberal donor to CAP) earned Soros and Steyer the opportunity to advise the White House on environmental policy in August of 2014.

Soros and Steyer are two of the top funders of left-wing causes. Steyer had donated $3,850,000 in the same time period. The “Our Supporters” page of CAP’s website lists the liberal Ford Foundation and Tom Steyer as having donated more than a $1 million in 2014 (Steyer’s 2014 990 tax returns have not yet been publicly released, so this million is not part of the $3.85 million).

Soros tentacles

The many tentacles of George Soros

DCG

Pro Homo GQ Loves the Pope

image

Letter from the Editor

Pope Francis “Doesn’t Do Fashion”
But we sure like his (actually!) Jesus-y, gay-loving, cooler-than-thou style
BY JIM NELSON
December 2014

You know who had a pretty infallible 2014? Pope Francis. I’ve already invited Him to our Men of the Year party, the big bash we do at the Chateau Marmont in L.A. to celebrate the issue—what pontiff can resist the Chateau Marmont?—but I haven’t heard back. I think that means he’s coming. I kept it all very…Latin.

Sure, I fibbed a little. I tried to make it sound like a Holy Day of Obligation that only people in California observe. You could say that I beckoned him. I believe I used the words “The Feast of the Men of the Year.” Threw in a little “Sollemnes Homines Anni.” Pretty sure I nailed it.

I’m told by the Vatican that the Pope “doesn’t do fashion,” but I say He does every time He sashays down the aisle. And I sure hope His Holiness decides to come to L.A. to hang out with Steve Carell and Chris Pratt and the rest of us Homines because, in all honesty, I like this pope a lot. He’s kind, humane, engaged, not like that last grump who walked off the job. Unlike Pope Geezer III, Francis is someone you can relate to. You look at him and you think: That guy just might have a secular agenda.

Did you know he tweets? He tweets! If you need a break from all the snark in the world, follow his feed. It’s the gentlest Twitter feed ever invented. One of my favorites: “Dear young people, do not be mediocre.” (Good advice! And think about it: He’s practically imploring you to subscribe to GQ.) Sometimes he’ll just tweet to spirits, like this one: “Come, Holy Spirit.” How cool is that? Like, he just wants to hang out. If I were the Holy Spirit, I’d retweet that shit a thousand times.

But the real reason I’m declaring Him our Holy Man of the Year is that he’s trying to push the Catholic Church into the twenty-first century, where it doesn’t seem to want to live, trying to open its creaky leaden doors to the realities of the world. And here’s the doctrinal shocker: Francis doesn’t think divorced people, or couples shacking up together, or gays and lesbians are evil. He believes they should be welcomed, not shunned. In the Catholic Church, this makes him close to a heretic. In October, he even had a committee declare that there are “positive aspects of civil unions and cohabitation,” that gay Catholics have certain “gifts and qualities,” and that everyone should “experiment with three-ways.”

Okay, I made up that last part about threesomes. But still! Theologically speaking, that’s rad. (Or is it? We did our own calculations here at GQ and found that tens of millions of Americans have divorced, lived together, or failed to pray the gay away. If welcoming that many people is considered radical, we’ve lost our sense of radical.)

Well, God made His decision: Lightning did not strike the Vatican!

What did strike the Vatican was panic. Hard-line bishops got their vestments in a bunch and managed, in a sense, to overrule the Pope. (Which I don’t get, since I thought He was infallible.) They watered down the final report, changed words in translation, and generally acted like it was 1572. They dropped language about “welcoming” gays and even changed the phrase homosexual “partners” to the dreaded “these people.” (As in: Some of my best friends are “these people.”)

It won’t last. This pope is too cool, too charismatic, and too righteous. And Jesus, who welcomed all, rolled with prostitutes, and got pissed at people with “stubborn hearts,” is on His side.

So am I.

···

“I Got Nothing Against Being Gay…”

I was standing in line at the Las Vegas post office. It was a long line stretching out the door and only one window was open. (And the fools in charge of the post office wonder why they’re going broke.) A tall, rural-looking man had just finished buying his stamps and he stepped away from the window. All of us in line took a step forward.

A moment later the man returned, standing off to the side of the line. He called back to the postal worker at the window with a rangy twang, “I hate to bother you, but could I get some different stamps instead of the ones you gave me?”

“Sure,” said the postal worker. Then he asked, “Which ones did I give you?”

The man answered, “Gay pride.”

I busted out laughing, followed by everyone else in line. The man explained himself. “I got nothing against being gay,” he said with that rangy voice. “I just don’t want it on my mail.”

The line chuckled and the postal worker said, “I understand.” He then exchanged the man’s stamps.

As for me, I bought a sheet of Batman stamps. I don’t want it on my mail either.

It’s Official. Norad Has Confirmed Santa On Radar. Here Is Link To Track.

Friends, please if you have little ones go to http://www.noradsanta.org/ and track Santa. Also lot’s of other cool things to do. You have to go to the Big Red Link. The pic below is only a screen grab. I can’t figure out how to put it up live. Merry Christmas Friends Of  the Fellowship.   sangels_100-123sangels_100-110sangels_100-125

 

PS.  You might find this interesting. This is the story of how NORAD and Santa got hooked up in the first place . It all started in 1955, with a misprint in a Colorado Springs newspaper and a call to Col. Harry Shoup’s secret hotline at the Continental Air Defense Command, now known as NORAD. Here is the link. Kinda heart warming.

http://www.npr.org/2014/12/19/371647099/norads-santa-tracker-began-with-a-typo-and-a-good-sport

 http://www.noradsanta.org/

 http://www.noradsanta.org/

These stats were just taken at 11:45 EST
GIFTS DELIVERED
1,745,345,282
LAST SEEN
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
HEADING FOR
Thimphu, Bhutan in 2 minutes, 21 seconds.
~Steve~

Irish respond to muslim invasion

traildustfotm:

This seems to be the most “shared” of my posts. It shows there are still some people on this planet who will stand up to the “stealth jihad” that has been strangling the West.

Originally posted on Fellowship of the Minds:

A violent letter has been sent to the mosques and schools of Ireland. We at FOTM do not support violence, but are aware of muslim intimidations against all free people. Some Irish have decided to turn the tide of the muslim invasion, and betrayed by their elected leaders, have issued a stark warning.

The Irish Resistance The Irish Resistance

Irish Citizens Stand Against Muslim Invasion

Posted by: Rick Wells Posted date: November 27, 2013 
irish-islam-letter

Many Muslims in Ireland are shocked by a letter posted to schools and mosques declaring a war against them. They should be shocked that it has taken as long as it has for people across the world to start standing up against their campaign of intimidation.

Gutless politicians don’t stand with the people anymore. In seemingly every country across the globe, the political positions are occupied by self-serving, pandering wimps. This letter is clearly born out of a frustration…

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My darkest Christmas Eve

traildustfotm:

This was originally published shortly after being invited into the Fellowship of the Minds. It didn’t receive the most visits, but it conveys the message I want most to give. God’s love, in Jesus Christ, is the greatest gift of all. Merry Christmas 2014! ~ Trail Dust

Originally posted on Fellowship of the Minds:

It was December 1970. I had been raised in a loving Catholic home, and always celebrated Christmas. But now, in my 2nd Christmas after high school I didn’t know if I believed anymore.

I was caught in the spell of “Woodstock Nation”, and on Christmas Eve, instead of gathering with family and going to church, I took a night time walk alone through the woods to a meadow where my friends and I would meet in the summer. The night wasn’t very cold, but lacking the joy of Christmas, my heart was in a deep chill. I have only felt that bleak on perhaps 3 occasions, but this was the most profound.

Within a year from that date I would end up losing a semester to mononucleosis, in a moment of tachycardia, submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, while recovering from mono, read Lord of the Rings, meet some…

View original 69 more words