Florida Sheriff Will Continue To Preach In Uniform Amidst Complaint

| by Nathaly Pesantez

Despite a letter sent to Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd in protest to his preaching in uniform, Judd will speak at another church on Sunday, reports The Tampa Tribune. 

The letter, sent by the Freedom From Religion Foundation on June 15, criticized Judd’s use of his sheriff position to promote his religion. 

The FFRF points out an April 19 sermon at Lakeland’s First Baptist Church at the Mall, where a uniformed Judd advocated faith-based jailing and said that law-breaking individuals can best be reformed through Jesus.  

In his sermon, Judd also told the Christian audience that they “are the majority.”

“In your personal capacity you can freely exercise your religion as you see fit,” reads part of the letter to Judd. “In your official capacity as an officer of the government, you are bound by the Establishment Clause and cannot abuse that office to promote your personal religious choices.”

The letter stresses that Judd as sheriff represents a diverse population, and that giving the sermon in uniform conflicts with his official capacity.

Judd thought the letter to be “humorous and entertaining.”

“They obviously mischaracterized the sermon I preached,” said Judd to The Tamp Tribune. “I was shocked. It is most bizarre.”

Judd’s next sermon will be given on Father’s Day at the Fellowship Assembly of God in Lakeland, planned before the June 15 letter. 

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has asked Judd to inform them of the measures he will take to “remedy these concerns.”

Sources: The Tampa Tribune, Freedom From Religion Foundation
Photo Credit: First Baptist Church at the Mall