Howard Friedman, Religion Clause
In Fields v. City of Tulsa, (ND OK, Dec. 13, 2012), an Oklahoma federal district court rejected objections by a Christian police officer to a directive that he either attend or find volunteers to appear at a Law Enforcement Appreciation Day hosted by the Islamic Society of Tulsa. Police Captain Paul Fields, who was disciplined for refusing to comply with the directive, complained that he was being forced to attend an event at which there will be a discussion about the Muslim religion, but at which he is precluded from expressing his Christian faith. The court rejected plaintiff’s free exercise claims, finding that the directive given to him was a neutral, generally applicable order. Nor did it infringe his right of expressive association, the Establishment Clause or his Equal Protection rights. The court also found that defendants had qualified immunity. Fox23 reports on the decision.