North Carolina Deputy Who Was Fired For Refusing To Train Women Due To ‘Billy Graham Rule’ Cries Religious Discrimination

A North Carolina Sheriff’s Deputy was recently fired for refusing to train a female officer. He is now suing the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, claiming his religious rights were violated.

Manuel Torres, 51, is a Southern Baptist who follows the infamous “Billy Graham Rule,” a practice popularized by the late evangelical pastor which says married men shouldn’t spend any time alone with women who aren’t their wives.

The practice has come under increased scrutiny since Mike Pence, who adheres to the doctrine, became Vice President.

Many claim that, when applied to a professional or political setting, the rule “puts women at a disadvantage” and gives another leg up to the men who already dominate certain fields.

Torres became a deputy in 2012. Later, in 2017, he refused to train a female officer because it would require him to spend time alone with her in his cruiser, which he believed would give him “the appearance of sinful conduct.”

Like many who adhere to the Graham Rule, Torres avoids time with women both to minimize temptation and to avoid implications of impropriety.

In this case, however, Torres’s superiors refused his request to get out of training the new officer.

He was later fired.

Torres claims he was let go “because of his religious beliefs and because he continued to request a reasonable religious accommodation from a job duty that violated his sincerely held religious beliefs.”

His lawsuit also names two other police departments who didn’t hire him—Torres believes they denied his applications due to his religious beliefs.

One of the police departments Torres is suing, the Slier City Police Department, “denies discriminating against Mr. Torres in any way and will vigorously defend” their decision not to hire him.

Social media was solidly on the side of the Sheriff’s department for this one.

Religious freedom can’t be used to justify discrimination or failure to perform duties required in a job description.

Reasonable accommodations for any reason never include exemption from performing essential job duties.

The lawsuit is ongoing and the Lee County Sheriff’s Office has not yet issued an official comment.

The book Pure: Inside the Evangelical Movement That Shamed a Generation of Young Women and How I Broke Free is available here.