BPD, Beaumont City at odds over officers’ Bible study

Published 2:18 pm Friday, December 18, 2015

BEAUMONT — Four Beaumont Police officers have obtained legal counsel after being banned from holding Bible study during their lunch.

The officers along with their attorney were set to deliver a Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act pre-suit notice to the city of Beaumont on Friday.

“For years, Sgt. Burt Moore, Officer Tony Hardin, Det. Anthony Goudeau and Sgt. Barry Scarborough of the Beaumont Police Department have along with other city employees held a voluntary Bible study at the Beaumont Police station during their lunch hour, according to a press release from Briscoe R. Cain, attorney at law and president of The Cain Law Firm.

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No one has ever complained, Moore, co-founder of the Bible study known as the Faith and Fellowship Bible Study, said in the press release.

The statement goes on to say officers and other city employees from a variety of ethnicities and faith backgrounds attend and the city is unfairly targeting the group.

The City of Beaumont issued a statement regarding the issue saying the city’s administration strongly supports freedom of religion and supports its employees’ right to practice their religious beliefs, even during breaks and during their lunch hour.

“The facts related to this situation are that police officers were sending blast e-mails citywide inviting employees to attend Bible studies in the chief of police’s conference room,” according to the city’s statement. “City buildings are for public purposes and to conduct city business. Again, while the administration personally supports Bible studies, we should not pick and choose what group conducting non-business related activities can utilize city facilities. Therefore, city policy prohibits all non-business activities so that we can treat everyone the same.”