“Mormon police officer put on leave over gay pride parade says liberties violated”, The Guardian, February 25 2015 (http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/feb/25/mormon-salt-lake-city-police-officer-pride-parade-religious-liberties-violated).
The officer in this article requested a change of role during a gay pride parade a year ago. He was to be part of the police motorcycle brigade at the beginning of the parade, but was uncomfortable with this role (he stated it would be seen as a sign of support). After his request, the officer Eric Moutsos, was put on leave by the police department. Eric Moutsos eventually resigned, and only recently has he gone public with his side of the story. In this case, he believes he was discriminated against for his beliefs.
The first thing that should be said is that Eric’s religious affiliation could have been anything from Christian to Islamic. The fact is that a man was discriminated against for expressing his religious beliefs. That’s the ironic thing about this story, in my mind. While stating bigotry as a reason for the leave, the department is also discriminating against the officer’s faith.
That’s the messiness of issues like this. It’s a problem of perception: whose values and beliefs are more important? While many would say the outcome was a good one (the officer resigning), the other side of the coin is that the beliefs and values of the officer cost him his job. It’s ironic that the side that is usually discriminated against (the LGBTs) would be fine when someone else is being discriminated against (the religious).
I’m not endorsing discrimination by religious people, discrimination by any party is wrong. This includes discrimination against religious beliefs, which has become far more common in present times. Tolerance (and by that I mean true tolerance, not the “we accept everything tolerance”) is the solution. Ultimately toes will be stepped on, values and beliefs will be violated; but issues like these should be handled with grace.