A former Georgia sheriff's deputy said he believes he was fired from his position at a jail because of his ministerial efforts with former inmates.
Josh McCuen worked at the Hall County Jail in Georgia for eight months before commanding officers fired him for “fraternizing” with inmates on Jan. 20.
McCuen said he thinks he is the target of religious persecution because he wanted to help spiritually rehabilitate the former inmates at the jail.
“It’s clear they call it fraternizing,” McCuen said. “It’s actually called being persecuted for Christ. And I take joy in that.”
McCuen said he started a Bible group for former inmates and their families, called Revival 172, and created a GoFundMe page to raise money for his ministry.
He said he plans to use the donated funds to rent a room or building for meetings, buy sound equipment, buy Bibles for inmates and give food and other household items to families with a loved one behind bars.
In a GoFundMe description, McCuen said he wanted to help former inmates through religion after meeting an inmate who he believes "gave him a love for the lost."
“God used an inmate to minister to me and God placed me in a jail around these guys every day to show me that they are still his people too,” McCuen wrote in the GodFundMe description.
According to the account page, no one had made a donation towards the $10,000 goal as of Jan. 23.
Officials at the jail said in a statement they did not mention McCuen’s religious beliefs when considering his termination.
While working at the jail, McCuen received two citations for insubordination. The specifics of the reprimands are not currently available.
According to a statement from jail officials, the supervisor in charge of firing McCuen did not mention his religious beliefs or actions. They said McCuen brought up religion as the reason behind his inappropriate behavior.