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June 27, 2005

It's a fundie thing

by Feòrag

United States: A South Carolina Druid couple have filed a complaint against a police officer who used a traffic stop as an excuse to try and convert them to Christianity.

Accompanying Cpl. Gilbert Lozada in his vehicle was reserve officer Tony Stewart, an unpaid volunteer, according to police spokesman Lt. Cris Varner.

Debra Gainey said during the traffic stop, Stewart began talking with her about his religion and told her she should come to Bible class.

In her letter complaining of a civil rights violation to Reynolds dated Wednesday, she said, Officer Stewart overstepped his bounds in witnessing during a traffic stop.

She also wrote in her complaint that he followed up by sending a letter to their home, which further violated our rights and invaded our privacy.

The officer drew attention to a bumper sticker on the couple's car which read It's a druid thing, and investigators are trying to determine whether the presence of that sticker caused the officer to stop the car, rather than any suspicion that an offence had taken place. According to Debra Gainey, one of the couple:

The interesting part of this incident happened at the back of our car. Officer Stewart asked us if we had put the bumper stickers on or if the car had come that way. I of course told the truth and said I had put them on. The officer wanted to know what they meant so I explained that I was an ordained minister of the Emerald Sanctuary Druidic Church. The conversation continued and then Officer Stewart asked me if my church supported me? I asked him to explain what he meant by support and he clarified it as meaning ‘spiritually fulfilling’. He then begins witnessing to me and my husband... At the police station he continued to witness to me...

...Officer Stewart never mentions a reason for being pulled over, such as weaving, speeding, wrong plates or anything like that. He does mention the bumper stickers.

A full account of the incident is given on the Emerald Sanctuary Druidic Church web site, including the fill text of Officer Stewart's letter, where he admits he is only works for the Police because of the witnessing opportunities it provides.

Two claim reserve officer violated their rights - The Greenville News, 23rd June 2005; How a Greer, SC Police Officer witnessed for the Baptists - Emerald Sanctuary Druidic Church web site, not dated.

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Posted in Church and State at 18:32. Last modified on September 28 2006 at 23:43.
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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference It's a fundie thing:

» Bumper Stickers: Lightning Rods for the Righteous! from Pharyngula
A couple driving along are pulled over for no apparent reason (the driver is subsequently found to have an invalid license). The couple are asked questions about their bumper stickers, which, as it turns out, are probably the actual reason they were st... [Read More]

Tracked on July 10, 2005 3:29 PM


1: Posted by: Red Wolf | June 30, 2005 10:16 AM

Even if he got sacked over this offence, I can't see Officer Stewart understanding that his behaviour was inappropriate. But then, I can't see him getting a clue if it was delivered by a large stick.

2: Posted by: Magical Truthsaying Bastard Spidey | June 30, 2005 7:14 PM

I think the clue would have to be delivered by enema.

3: Posted by: Feòrag | June 30, 2005 10:27 PM

Preferably a chili enema.

4: Posted by: van | July 1, 2005 11:37 PM

another example of arrogant religious christians abusing their authority. as a fag, this stuff happens all the time, they need to grow up and let people live oppressive free lives, although that concept will be lost on these abusers!!!!!!

5: Posted by: Vrimj | July 4, 2005 4:09 PM

Wow! I was looking in to this thinking, hum it might be had to show agency in this case. If the officer says he does it only for the opportnites to witness then it is has to argure that is is not an accepted pattern of behavior

Thank you! Useful infromation indeed.

6: Posted by: Snow Fox | July 12, 2005 4:17 AM

I think the far more important issue, is not what the volunteer, Stewert, was doing but what about the corporal who drove the car? This is a regular policeman providing a vehical, physically and metaphoracally, for the "witness."

This would sem to be a direct violation of the 1st ammendment's seperation of church and state as the state-the town-in the form of a police corporal,is allowing someone to push their faith on others against their will. The town should sack the corporal on civil rights issues.

7: Posted by: MerlynHerne | September 23, 2005 6:39 AM

Not only bumper stickers, guys. When I was still living in San Francisco, I wore a pentacle ring and a small pentacle pendant with a bit of jet crystal hanging from it. Man did I get hassled on the Muni (SF bus system). Now I was not dressed "Goth" or wearing "death rocker" makeup or whatever (not that it would have justified the fundies hassling me. I was wearing jeans and a flannel shirt and sweater vest. Well, I let him have it right back. I don't protest when Christians walk about with their jewelry prominently displayed. Why? Because I believe in religious freedom and tolerance.

At base things like fundies hassling the Druid couple or going apeshit over bumper stickers, or a Wiccan who dares to wear the Pentacle (gasp!) in public (another gasp!) are at base issues of religious freedom and tolerance. Christians wonder why there are Pagans who are openly hostile towards Christianity...because some of them (And I stress "some"...NOT all) have forgotten "Judge not lest ye be judged" and "Do unto others as ye would have them do unto you."

The actions of these Christians are nothing more nor less than religious persecution!

Wax lyrical

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