Harford County Sheriff’s Office, “Christian School Graduates, Need Not Apply!”
I received a call recently from a very well respected Pastor whose son had applied to be a Harford County Sheriff’s Deputy and passed all the physical and mental tests he was given. The final thing he was asked to do was supply his high school diploma. The Pastor’s son provided his Maryland high school diploma from a high school certified by the Maryland State Board of Education but was told the Harford County Sheriff’s Office does not accept the high school diplomas from Christian Schools!
I don’t understand how any government organization could possibly not understand that this violates the U.S. and State Constitutions. The First Amendment to the U.S Constitution reads:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
The argument for separation of Church and State is a false one. No where in the founding documents, does this phrase appear. The only prohibition is on Government either promoting a specific religion by making a law respecting the establishment of religion or, what is ignored by the atheistic left, “prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. The idea of a separation between Church and State comes from a letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists, Jan. 1, 1802. What those who twist what he says to meet their own atheistic agenda never tell you is that Jefferson was citing to the Government prohibitions which were established in the very first line of the very first Amendment to the bill of rights. (For those who wish to read the short letter I have attached it to the bottom of this article.)
Believing there had to be some mistake in what was happening in this instance I called the Harford County Sheriff’s Office to inquire about the policy. The Sheriff was not available to speak with me but I was able to speak with a knowledgeable staff member who confirmed for me that this was a policy of the Harford County Sheriff’s Office but she explained this was an interpretation of a regulation of the Maryland Police Correctional Training Commission, (MPCT). I asked if she knew who it was that was saying this and she gave me the name of the person. I started to explain that the Harford County Sheriff’s Department should know better than to follow some bureaucrat’s unconstitutional directives, but quickly decided this was above her pay grade and thanked her for her help and called the MPCT.
The person I was calling for was not in but I was able to reach the Executive Director, Mr. Charles Rupp. I incorrectly figured I would quickly get a flat out denial that any such unconstitutional activity such as precluding graduates from State certified christian high schools from being Harford County Sheriff’s Deputies was the policy of the State of Maryland Police Correctional Training Commission.
I was shocked to hear, that yes, that is the policy. I tried to explain how this was an unconstitutional policy and was told that the Executive Director had an Attorney General opinion supporting the position. I politely asked if I could have a copy of that opinion and was told that it was not in writing, it was an oral opinion. I explained that before calling I sought an Attorney General Opinion myself, and do have one, in writing, that supports my position that if the Christian School has a certificate of approval from the State Board of Education it is unconstitutional, and violates Section 20-606 of the State Government Article, for the Harford County Sheriff’s Office to treat christian high school graduate applicant’s different based on their religious based education.
I was then told that all that was needed was to review the classes that were taken and see if they measure up to public schools classes. The only thing I could think of that might be different from a parochial school education and that of a public school is that the Christian school graduate may actually have had some education with respect to ethics and morals.
While I appreciate the willingness to re-review this one Christian school applicant’s transcripts, this in itself is discriminatory and should not be allowed. If a school were not accredited by the State, then the Harford County Sheriff’s Office would be free to determine if the education of the Christian applicant “otherwise meets reasonable, objective, and nondiscriminatory criteria recognized by the Sheriff’s Department for minimum educational achievement standards for its prospective employees.”
While I appreciate the offer to now review this one Christian’s application I believe the policy needs to be changed to comply with the Constitution and State law.
It is not an excuse for a Police Department to say, in effect, we are only following orders, when a clear Constitutional question is involved. We have seen in the past how this quickly deteriorates into totalitarianism use of our police forces for political purposes. It is important to point out any such violation of the Constitutional rights of the citizens whom police are supposed to protect. It is the job of the police to question unconstitutional orders or activities not to blindly follow them. The oath that each takes is to the Constitution not to any elected official or superior.
I am not only worried about whether this one Christian is being unconstitutionally denied his right to be employed as a Harford County Sheriff’s Deputy, I am concerned for all the Christians or anyone graduating from any parochial high school in Maryland who has been denied employment by a State Constitutional Officer, as is each Sheriff of each county. (Article IV, Section 44 of the Maryland Constitution)
As of today, I do not know how extensive this practice is among the various Sheriff’s offices. I don’t know how many years the Harford County Sheriff’s Office has been discriminating against Christian applicants.
I will be asking for a list of all those Christians who have been rejected. If there is a claim that they are not being rejected then I want the list of all those who have been hired and attended parochial schools.
If you or someone you know has applied for a job with the Harford County Sheriff’s Department, or any Sheriff’s Office or anywhere else in the State of Maryland please let me know.
Whether you are a Christian or not, whether you are religious or not, any unconstitutional behavior by our government needs to be pointed out and called out. We sit silently while over a million christians have been murdered by Islamic fundamentalists over the last decade. We watch the IRS attack our churches to silence them and we now see pastors having their sermons and conversations being subpoened by the mayor of Houston.
We all need to stand up for the Constitutional rights of all Americans whenever and wherever they are being violated.
Please share this article with everyone you know so I can find out just how extensive this discrimination against Christians has been and continues to be.
Yours in Public Service,
Delegate Mike Smigiel, Sr.
Jefferson’s Letter to the Danbury Baptist’s
To messers. Nehemiah Dodge, Ephraim Robbins, & Stephen S. Nelson, a committee of the Danbury Baptist association in the state of Connecticut.
The affectionate sentiments of esteem and approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist association, give me the highest satisfaction. my duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, & in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.
I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection & blessing of the common father and creator of man, and tender you for yourselves & your religious association, assurances of my high respect & esteem.
Jan. 1. 1802.