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Heterophobic Police Officer Threatens Christians August 8, 2006

Posted by C.A.R.D in 2008 election, activist, Allen, arrest, Bible, Card, Christian, Christians, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, constitutional amendment, Cop, Fort Lauderdale, Gay, Headrophobic, Headrosexual, Heterophobic, Heterophobic-Activist, Homosexual, intimidation, Petition, Police, Police Officer, Promise Keepers, Sgt. Allen, signatures, Sunrise city police, Sunrise city police department, Threaten.

A homosexual-activist police officer assigned to security at a Promise Keepers men’s conference in Florida is being investigated for threatening members of a Christian organization petitioning for a state constitutional marriage amendment.

“I have never in my life seen such unprofessional and bizarre behavior from a law enforcement officer,” said John Stemberger, the president and general counsel of the Florida Family Policy Council.

“This kind of ridiculous harassment and intimidation was meant to thwart the effort to protect marriage in Florida. It should remind all of us that we are engaged in a culture war. …”

His group had rented a display table at a June Promise Keepers conference in the Fort Lauderdale area to publicize its effort to collect more than 611,000 signatures on petitions to call for a vote of Florida people. The goal is to protect traditional marriage – between one man and one woman – in the state constitution.

But as the signatures were being collected, officers of the Sunrise city police department ordered volunteers for Florida4Marriage.org to stop accepting names.

“Officers then physically removed the petitions from ‘public view’ on the table at the exhibitors tent,” the council said in a website update of the situation. “Two of the male officers mocked the volunteers by kissing each other after they initially removed all the petitions from the area.”

Stemberger yesterday told WorldNetDaily the situation now is on hold while the police department fulfills its obligation to do an investigation.

“I have filed the complaint with internal affairs. They are doing a good-faith investigation because they’ve called me several times. I know that the officer’s retained counsel,” he said.

“No one would have ever believed our story without that photograph. That photograph really captures the attitude that we were approached with,” he said.

The camera was a fortunate circumstance, he said, because one volunteer said she always carried one around. Her tape recorder, however, didn’t work, he said.

Stemberger said without a significant result from the police department’s investigation, it would produce a “chilling” effect on any Christian activities in public areas.

“Marriage is the picture God gives in the Scripture about Christ and the church,” he said.

In the actual confrontation, Stemberger was called after the officers removed the petitions. He sought further legal counsel from Rick Nelson of American Liberties Institute and then confronted Sgt. Allen.

He said he asked the sergeant what law or ordinance was being violated by the petitions and Allen simply responded with a not-entirely accurate lecture on Jesus’ view of homosexuality in the New Testament and the statement that the petition was a “waste of time.”

The sergeant then proclaimed he was the authority and “the Bible says that Christians should obey the authorities.”

Allen also threatened to arrest Stemberger, who stood his ground.

The situation ultimately cooled down when managers for the arena told the sergeant to stand down, the council said.

WND’s calls to the city manager’s office yesterday were referred to the police chief, whose secretary said he was out of town and unavailable to provide an update on the investigation. The police agency’s website does speak of a “diversified” team of officers.

The petition drive is trying to collect 611,009 signatures to put the issue on the 2008 election ballot. Similar constitutional amendments already have been endorsed by voters in 20 states, with another half dozen on the ballot this year already.

“We always have great relationships with the venues and the security details (at the conferences) and that’s the first time we ever saw that level of partisanship from security,” Promise Keepers spokesman Steve Chavis told WND.

Source: World Net Daily

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