Comments about ‘Salt Lake police officer says he was 'uncomfortable' with parade assignment’

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Published: Monday, June 9 2014 6:40 p.m. MDT

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Kings Court
Alpine, UT

I refused to participate in the Day's of 47 parade for fear that other would perceive me to be pro-Mormon. I was fired by my company for doing so. This story sounds eerily familiar.

Eagle Mountain, UT

As a civil servant, especially in the capacity of military and law enforcement; you voluntarily give up certain rights when you put on that uniform.

An officer in the Army cannot speak ill of the President in an official capacity. He is free to hold whatever view he pleases, but must voice that view only in certain times and places. As a Soldier, I could not pick what assignments I had, nor refuse to do anything meted out to me. If I felt it compromised who I was as a person, I was free to talk with my superiors. If they felt the concern warranted, they would alter the assignment, or remove me from the detail. If they chose not to, I felt my conscious was clear. If the order was illegal, there were channels with whom I could raise my concern.

However, I fail to see the religious distinction here. The officer was not asked to participate in the parade, but only to secure it. I fail to see in any teachings of any church were we must treat LGBT as anything less than American Citizens and Children of God.

Howard Beal
Provo, UT

I understand that the officer was asked not just to lead but to swerve around to "Jazz" up things. As I understand things, he felt that this give his tacit endorsement of the events, which he didn't feel comfortable. If he was asked just to be security detail, I don't think he has much of a case, but if he was asked to do things that might make view as endorsing the events, I think there is another issue there and I think it would be within his rights to not do this particular assignment.

Medical Lake, Washington

This is the type of equality that we are moving towards. The officer could have expressed discomfort about just about any other assignment and chances are some accommodations might have been made. But if a person doesn't personally feel comfortable about the GLBT agenda, they are put on leave, or forced to resign as in the case of the former CEO of Mozilla Firefox. Freedom of Speech is alive and well in our society, provided that it is politically correct speech.


It is clear to me that only people of one opinion regarding gay issues will be afforded the protection of having a first amendment. Those who find it incompatible with their religious beliefs are rapidly finding themselves the target of a new bigotry, an American landscape in which they are not welcome.

Saint Louis, MO

Sadly, I sympathize with the officer in question. He could have been accommodated easily by switching assignments in the same parade. Someone evidently knew that leading the parade would agitate him. Unfortunately, the department had no choice. I would comment to Ms. Jones that we all make decisions every day which discriminate. This extends from the simple choice of a green shirt or blouse over a blue one to putting murderers in prison. Our society has to have standards. As a nation, we are losing our focus. It is a matter of setting up standards for society or radical groups will impose it for us.

Lane Myer
Salt Lake City, UT

All posters who are blaming the LGBT public for this policeman's problems (Chris B, One old man, etc, please read the story again. The LGBT citizens did not fire this policeman, SLC did. A policeman is given an assignment. He either follows orders or he resigns. The police cannot have a force where every officer is questioning every decision, just like the military. That is chaos!

Most police officers and those in the military are not comfortable shooting people. But it is what they signed up for - protecting and serving ALL citizens. As soon as you have one or two that question their assignments and get away with it, you will have the breakdown of order and anarchy in the ranks. The military and the police are NOT democracies. Those who join their ranks actually give up the right of speech in many instances.

Northern, CO

The more things like this happen the more we are going to LBGTXQRED movement. These bullying tactics are applauded and anyone with a different opinion is shouted down, fired, harassed, censored, etc. This makes us want to stand against you more. We would be more accepting if you would tone it down

Los Angeles, CA

I'm sure that anything I post here won't make it through the Deseret News censor because anyone saying that maybe, just maybe, religious beliefs can be the basis of bigotry and that this officer overreacted. It sounds like he wasn't pushed, he jumped.

Karen R.
Houston, TX

@ Gatsby

"...he did not want to seem to condone their views by leading their parade."

I agree that people shouldn't automatically be considered bigoted for their LGBT-related positions. But I wonder if you understand how the claim of "religious conscience" is undermined with statements like yours. They reflect a concern with how other human beings see you rather than how your god does.

Presumably the officer's/cake baker's/photographer's god is powerful enough to know what's in their hearts regardless of the uncomfortable positions life inevitably presents? And if their god doesn't understand this, then they would have known they couldn't obey the laws or live up to the oaths before they said they could, yes?

So this doesn't come across as fealty to one's god, but rather as fealty to one's self. This comes across as "it is more important that I appear righteous than that I live up to my word" and as "I want the benefits without the responsibilities."

This still doesn't make one a bigot, but it doesn't speak to the claim of "religious conscience" either. I think it speaks to something else.

Kaysville, UT

Speaking as an ex-motorcycle officer for a local Salt Lake valley police department, this should have been a volunteer motor assignment, not fully assigned. Every motor event that we had, except for the specified city parades (2 per year), was volunteer and paid overtime or a shift differential, including float escorts, traffic support for when the President came, funeral escorts, annual MDA Ride, and other benefit events. Salt Lake City PD has a motor squad of over 30 motors. I highly doubt all 30 were assigned to this private parade. I would imagine that every other officer that worked "security" for this parade did so on a volunteer basis, separate from their assigned shift. SLCPD did not pull regular officers off of their assigned beat to work security for this parade. They pulled in extra officers - those who wanted the extra pay. It should have been the same for the motors. If he was required by SLCPD to attend this parade, as a motor, then I think it's SLCPD that messed up.

Los Angeles, CA

Why are there so many comments saying that this is about the LGBT community being bigoted? I don't see anywhere in this story that anyone from the LGBT community said anything. I know that many people who read the Deseret News like to immediately jump to the "see, it's the gays who are really bigoted because they call us bigots because we just have a disagreement when we try to deny them having equal rights", but in this case it seems like they didn't even read the story.

Wilf 55

Can you imagine a police officer, assigned to stand guard in front of a synagogue or a mosque, to refuse because he feels "uncomfortable" about Jews or Muslims? This is exactly the same in this case. It's a question of a fundamental attitude of respect and tolerance for any class of people.

Clifton Palmer McLendon
Gilmer, TX

Violation of the law of chastity is more serious than dishonesty.

If thieves and liars hijacked the word "daring" (the way homosexuals hijacked the word "gay") and demanded that theirs be recognized as an "alternative lifestyle" because they were "born that way" and demanded that larceny and perjury be decriminalized and jeered at people who disagreed with them as "bigots" and held "daring pride" parades, would people in general tolerate that?

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

So what's the difference between a policeman refusing a mission because of a personal religious view and a Marine who may have let his personal religion get in the way of his military obligation? Or a businessman who would allow his personal religion to unlawfully discriminate his employees or customers.

American freedom says that we should not force a person to do something that he doesn't want to do. However when a person accepts the obligations of a voluntary group, failure to accept the missions of the group can get you fired, disallowed, discharged or maybe even killed as a consequence.

The successful existence of any group or society requires that it be able to enforce its rules upon its members. The only legit way to not follow the rules is to not join the group.


Extremism is the thing to fear. I think we all want equality deep down. The sad thing is when ours has to come at the expense of someone else's. It's interesting how many changing demographics I've seen already in my life. For example the ethnic/cultural makeup of So. Calif. or the religious makeup of Europe. We read history books and wonder how the horrors of the 1940's could have taken place while we remain mute as an oppressive Syrian regime (to name just one)has killed well over 200,000 in just the past couple of years. We need to learn to get along.

Centerville, UT

"make sure the streets were clear of traffic and pedestrians" Was not the assignment. Performing close drills was the request, performing on the motorcycle team is a volunteer action not a police assignment. Driving up and down the parade route for security, traffic and pedestrians was not the assignment requested.

Chris Burbank chooses which laws he will enforce, as he stated in public interviews. He set the stage for biased actions on his force. I hope he is named in the defamation law suit, along with Sim Gill, and Jones. This was an internal matter and should have been handled internally. The fact it was made in the public arena with political figures defaming the officer, have guaranteed this officer will have a great retirement paid for by Salt Lake City taxpayers. I expect the law suit will be settled in the millions. But publicity of the settlement will get buried.

South Jordan, UT

I compose music and enjoy many styles from a broad range. But if I were asked to compose music for an adult film, will I be forced to accept the project, thus attaching my name and tacit endordsement of the product? What if it were a gay adult film, will I face fines or jail time for refusing the work based on moral/religious grounds?

I went to a deli in NY and ordered a burger. I asked for cheese, but they declined because they were a kosher deli. I didn't complain or launch a lawsuit!

Where are my rights to LIVE my religion? And who allowed is decide for me what living my religion means? And who can decide that my personal religious beliefs which are not uncommon, if acted upon, are against the law? What happened to live and let live, or this coexist bumper sticker I see sometimes?

Centerville, UT

@Wilf 55 He comments "Can you imagine a police officer, assigned to stand guard in front of a synagogue or a mosque, to refuse because he feels "uncomfortable" about Jews or Muslims? This is exactly the same in this case."

No Wilf it is requiring the police officer to enter the synagogue or mosque and worship with the people in the synagogue or mosque. Big difference.

Debbie G
Cedar City, UT

I see no problem in standing up for your religious beliefs. The officer did not want it to look as if he was in support of Gay Rights. He asked for a different assignment for the parade. Understandable. There is no bigotry here. If called upon, he would do his job to protect all. But to suspend him for not riding his motorcycle in support of Gay Pride,.... I think the Salt Lake Police Department should be ashamed of themselves for letting down a fellow officer. This man has courage to stand for his religious beliefs. So... Thank you officer, and sorry we some people with so little respect for that kind of courage. Your not just going with the flow. Thanks again.

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