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.
I mean… this is Handmaids Tale stuff!
— CPAC Flag (@snotsobad) August 3, 2019
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.
Can you imagine if a female officer refused to train male officers cuz of HER religious beliefs? Another example of religion gone mad.
— Mimi Parker (@peacockhill) August 3, 2019
In this case, however, Torres’s superiors refused his request to get out of training the new officer.
He was later fired.
There's nothing in the Bible to support his beliefs. pic.twitter.com/rl9dBLREDb
— Richard E. Stone (@StoneRicharde1) August 3, 2019
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.
Manuel Torres, an evangelical Christian and former…sheriff’s deputy, asserts that his faith prohibits him from being alone with women who aren’t his wife ― which he said is exactly what would happen if he agreed to train a female deputy.
Jesus was alone with women: John 4:6-29
— Olin McGill (@Omcgill1) August 8, 2019
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.
Seriously!? What ‘religion’ is that? His wife’s?🙄
— L. J. ☀ (@Miami_Nice2) August 3, 2019
Social media was solidly on the side of the Sheriff’s department for this one.
funny the bible doesn't say that…
— Kevin Wright (@Curseofthebambi) August 3, 2019
Then he’s definitely in the wrong job.
— Monica mcmillan (@Monicam1309) August 3, 2019
Clearly Manuel married a jealous woman who he fears more than god.
— Diana Contini, M.D. (@diana_continimd) August 3, 2019
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.
I'm all for freedom of religion, but if your going to claim that your holy book says you can't do a thing, you better be able to point to where in that book it says that. I'm pretty sure the bible does not have a prohibition of being alone with a woman. Did I miss that part?
— gatesealer (@SAgatesealer) August 9, 2019
Oh please…how stupid. He should have been fired sooner.
— Susan Edwards (@SusanEdwrds) August 9, 2019
meanwhile jesus hung out with sex workers. lol american christianity is garbage.
— Gas Station Sushi 🌹 (@forusewhendrunk) August 8, 2019
The lawsuit is ongoing and the Lee County Sheriff’s Office has not yet issued an official comment.