I posted yesterday about Pastor Greg Fritts (a.k.a. Greyson Fritts), the pastor at All Scripture Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. He’s a New Independent Fundamentalist Baptist preacher who had screamed about the evils of homosexuality and how the Bible called for the execution of LGBTQ people at the hands of the government.
What made that sermon even more disturbing was that Fritts himself worked for a police department. He’s a deputy in the Knox County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO). That department said it would investigate the matter and added that Fritts is on paid leave until his buyout request is processed. That seemed unrelated to the preaching, though it’s odd that a man who had worked at the sheriff’s office since 1999 was suddenly getting out just as his church became notorious for calling for the executions of gay people.
Now the Freedom From Religion Foundation is getting involved. In a letter to the KCSO, attorney Andrew Seidel notes a deep concern that Fritts “has or will use his office to attack LGBTQ citizens.” Furthermore, by not being more explicit in denouncing his hate, the KCSO runs the risk that it “might be seen to be endorsing Fritts’ message.”
Fritts holds a government position of substantial power. From a practical standpoint, law enforcement officers are government officials that hold the power of life and death. He is not just talking about his religion and religious beliefs, he is also preaching about what a government officer in his position should do. Fritts has said that the office he occupies should be used to round up and murder people. He even tells stories about his work. This is a man who rages at LGBTQ people and who thinks that government should execute them. That person is not fit to carry a government badge or deadly weapon.
FFRF is asking for an investigation as well as a re-investigation into complaints made against him to find out if he’s ever “used his police power to enforce his understanding of his god’s law.” Also, they want any records, including email, relating to Fritts’ “genocidal views.” Finally, FFRF says if there’s any indication his religious beliefs seeped into his work, “he should be dismissed.”
The sheriff’s office is on notice about harboring this Christian calling for genocide. If Fritts ever acts on his beliefs, it could mean a greater legal liability for the office and those who run it. It’s in their best interest to put this all out in the public and denounce any officer who promotes hate speech in his private (and possibly public) life.