PORT WENTWORTH, Georgia (LifeSiteNews) — Jacob Kersey, the 19-year-old Christian police officer who tendered his resignation after his department threatened him with termination over a Facebook post defending traditional marriage, spoke about the incident and his next steps collaborating with a nonprofit law firm in a Thursday interview with Christian author and podcaster Becket Cook.
Kersey made national headlines last month after he turned in his gun and badge following alleged bullying from his superiors at Port Wentworth Police Department in Georgia over a personal Facebook post describing the Christian understanding of marriage, which excludes homosexual unions.
“If you get a distorted view of marriage, you get a distorted view of the Gospel,” Kersey told Cook on Thursday, explaining that “on my own personal time I like to help Christians think biblically about these issues.”
The FBI is planning to intensify its “assessment” and “mitigation” of “Radical Traditionalist Catholics” over the next 12 to 24 months according to an explosive document from a former agent turned whistleblower.
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The bombshell 8-page memo was released by former FBI agent Kyle Serpahin on his website UncoveredDC Wednesday. The report, written by an FBI analyst in Richmond, Virginia, was published for internal agency use only on January 23, is titled, “Interest of Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremists in Radical-Traditionalist Catholic Ideology Almost Certainly Presents New Mitigation Opportunities.”
Seraphin describes the briefing as an “intelligence product” that, though not being exhaustive, can be used as an initial reference point for the agency to “prop up” future investigations on the subject. He says he obtained the document from an anonymous Baptist employee for the agency.
“This is the first FBI Richmond domain product to focus on the interest of racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists in the Radical Traditional Catholic movement,” the document states. “A search of FBI databases indicates this is also the first FBI finished intelligence product to specifically address this environmental variable.”
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Among the most controversial aspects of the memo is that it directly cites a defamatory study conducted by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) on the subject “Radical Traditional Catholicism.” The SPLC has long been rejected as a legitimate resource for the FBI, Seraphin says, but in this instance, it is being relied on as a primary source to justify its efforts. The memo also references three anti-Catholic smear articles (here, here, and here) published by leftwing websites Salon and The Atlantic to defend its monitoring.
The report alleges that its real motivation is a concern that “Radical Traditionalist Catholic Ideology” possesses an “anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBT, and white supremacy” outlook, and that this presents a threat to the US’s domestic well-being. The report further claims that adherents to RTC ideology “frequently share language and symbolism, such as crusader references or anti-Semitic discourses” online that pro-life white nationalists also support.
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FBI whistleblower releases docs showing agents are surveilling "Radical" Traditional Catholics in Virginia
The former police officer is now working alongside nonprofit religious liberty law firm First Liberty Institute in an effort to ensure that what happened to him “doesn’t happen to another police officer at Port Wentworth, or any other city in Georgia, or anywhere else in the nation.”
“If we allow the Port Wentworth Police Department and the city to just brush this under the rug, this will continue to happen and it shouldn’t,” Kersey said.
“That’s the power of the gospel!”
I joined @becketcook on his show to talk about my story. We also discussed how love leads Christians to point people to repentance and a new life in Christ. Watch here:https://t.co/dKNyu4kOgb
— Jacob Kersey (@realjacobkersey) February 24, 2023
Stephanie Taub, senior counsel at First Liberty, shared that her firm is “so honored to represent people like Jacob,” who she said has displayed “such courage at a time when the police departments should be looking for people with courage who are willing to stand by their convictions and do the right thing, even if it takes sacrifice.”
First Liberty attorneys, together with former Republican Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, earlier this month crafted a letter to the police department’s leadership outlining the department’s allegedly unlawful discrimination against Kersey and violation of his First Amendment rights.
The law firm is offering to “consult with the district, on behalf of Jacob Kersey and similarly situated employees of faith, to inform the Department of its obligations under the Constitution.”
Kersey said his focus is both to uphold God’s word and to fight for freedom of speech as protected by the U.S. Constitution.
“If you cannot speak about religion, then you do not have religious freedom,” he said.
READ: Georgia police officer resigns after being put on leave for defending traditional marriage online
During the podcast interview, Kersey described the sequence of events that led to his decision to resign and work with attorneys to combat his treatment.
The young officer, who said he was inspired to enter law enforcement because he looked up to the police officers with whom he had frequent contact during his childhood in a broken home, said his department contacted him January 3 to inform him that they had received an anonymous complaint about a social media message he had posted the day before.
In the post, Kersey paraphrased St. Paul’s teaching on marriage in Ephesians, writing: “God designed marriage. Marriage refers to Christ and the church. That’s why there is no such thing as homosexual marriage.”
He said his superiors told him to remove the post, and warned him that he could be terminated from his position if he refused.
“I never thought anything like that would happen to me, especially here in Georgia, in a small town away from Savannah,” Kersey said.
He said he was told that his traditional Christian perspectives, as shared on Facebook, could harm his ability to stay objective on the job.
According to Kersey, it “was absurd” that that “question was even raised,” since per that assessment any officer, whether Christian, Muslim, or Jewish, could be considered “not fit for duty” or “incapable of performing a job as a police officer” based on his or her “deeply held religious beliefs.”
The young former police officer said that on January 4 he was called in for a meeting with his police chief, who he said “likened what I said” in the Facebook post to “using the ‘N’ word” or “saying ‘eff all those homosexuals.’”
Kersey recounted that he was placed on paid administrative leave while the department conducted an investigation, which included scouring the young man’s social media posts and listening to his podcasts. Though he said investigators found he had violated no departmental or city policies, regulations, or laws, he was nonetheless told “not to do it again.”
Moreover, he said the department advised him that they would be creating a new policy that, while allowing him to share Bible verses on his social media, would nonetheless forbid him from offering any interpretation deemed offensive.
“January 17 I made the decision to resign,” Kersey said. “I didn’t see a viable option for going back to work at the police department.”
“They had shown that they were very hostile to my religious beliefs and towards the stance that I took in opposing them trying to tell me to remove the post,” he continued. “Law enforcement is a dangerous job. And when you go out there and respond to calls, you need to know that your department has your back. And my department made it very clear that they did not.”
“I know God’s word, I know the truth,” he explained to Cook. “I’m not going to be silent about it.”