Ramadan Day 27 – Arts & Entertainment: “Appreciation or Proselytizing?”Posted: August 15, 2012
Captain Paul Fields, a Tulsa, Oklahoma police captain who is described as an officer with a “stellar career” was stripped of his command, transferred to another division and suspended without pay for two weeks in 2011 because he refused to attend a “Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.”
The event hosted by the Islamic Society of Tulsa included mosque tours, watching the Friday prayer service, meeting local Muslims, and receiving presentations on Islamic beliefs. The event was originally voluntary to attend, but because few people signed up the Deputy Chief of Police made the event mandatory saying that each patrol division should send six officers and three supervisors to the event. At the time, Captain Fields was the shift commander for 26 officers and 5 supervisors.
Captain Fields, a Christian, refused orders to attend the event because he felt it violated his Christian beliefs. He also informed his superiors that he would not require officers under his command to attend “if they share similar religious convictions.” He wrote in a memo that he believed the order was illegal and said the police department had never before ordered officers to attend an Appreciation Day at a religious venue.
According to a motion filed in federal court on behalf of Captain Fields, “unlike many of these other ‘appreciation’ events, the Islamic Event was advertised as involving religious content and religious activities, including proselytizing…Plaintiff [Fields] who understands Islam and its ‘dawa’ mission (‘the call’ or ‘invitation’ ‘to Islam’), knew that this event would involve proselytizing that was contrary to his Christian faith.”
As for the Tulsa Police Department and city attorney, they claimed the Appreciation Day was a “community policing event.” Captain Fields is suing for damages related to “his suspension, loss of command, transfer to the graveyard shift and loss of a promotion for at least a year.” The American Freedom Law Center filed a motion for summary judgment for Captain Fields on August 14, 2012, and the case is expected to go to trial in December.
PRAYER FOR ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT:
- In western society, a “Day of Appreciation” would be considered a time to be appreciated and entertained, not a day of proselytizing. Pray that Muslims will understand the separation between Church and state that Americans hold dear.
- Pray for Captain Paul Fields that through this event he will be a Godly witness to other members of the Tulsa Police Department and to members of the Islamic Society of Tulsa. He has stated that he does not have a problem with Muslims. He believes the mandatory requirement to attend the event by his employers violates his first amendment rights.
- Ask God to vindicate Captain Fields by seeing him returned to his position on the police force and to receive restoration of all he has lost.
- Pray that police officers across the United States will not be forced to compromise their spiritual beliefs in regard to their employment and have the freedom to live their faith without being reprimanded.