Chaplain David Wells says he refused to sign an agreement last month with the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice that would have banned him from telling youthful offenders in jails that homosexuality is a sin.
“We could not sign that paper,” Wells told FoxNews.com. “It broke my heart.”
Wells had done 13 years of volunteer ministry at the Warren County Regional Juvenile Detention Center.
“They told us we could not preach that homosexuality is a sin, period,” Wells added. “We would not have even been able to read Bible verses that dealt with LGBT issues.”
Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice Superintendent Gene Wade wrote in a letter to Wells:
We sincerely appreciate your years of service and dedication to the youth served by this facility. However, due to your decision, based on your religious convictions, that you cannot comply with the requirements outlined in DJJ Policy 912, Section IV, Paragraph H, regarding the treatment of LGBTQI youth, I must terminate your involvement as a religious volunteer.
According to the Liberty Counsel, a Christian law firm that represents Wells, the DJJ policy says that volunteers "shall not refer to juveniles by using derogatory language in a manner that conveys bias towards or hatred of the LGBTQI community. DJJ staff, volunteers, interns, and contractors shall not imply or tell LGBTQI juveniles that they are abnormal, deviant, sinful, or that they can or should change their sexual orientation or gender identity."
Wells told Fox News: “They are defining hateful or derogatory as meaning what the Bible says about homosexuality."
In some verses, the Bible calls for homosexuals to be put to death, says they are an abomination and bans them from heaven.
Mat Staver, the founder of Liberty Counsel, added, “There is no question there is a purging underway. The dissenters in the recent Supreme Court decision on gay marriage warned us this would happen.”
However, the Kentucky regulation has been enacted since April 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in 2015.
Staver wrote a letter to Kentucky officials that stated:
However, the Bible explicitly prohibits any expression of sexuality outside of the confines of man - woman marriage. It recognizes that every person, regardless of personal proclivities or attractions, is separated from God because of sin, whatever form that sin may take. Many juveniles are in DJJ custody because of sexual crimes, and Mr. Wells must be able to discuss the Bible and matters of sexuality with inmates, and he therefore was unable to sign the form.
However, homosexuality is not a crime.
In his letter, Staver tried to link same-sex attraction to sexual abuse:
First, as you know, many children in the DJJ system have been sexually abused by others, including those of the same sex, and experience confusion about their sexuality, including feelings of same - sex attractions and compulsive sexual behavior . Indeed, Mr. Wells himself is ideally suited to minister to them, as he was sexually abused for many years by a man when he was a young child, and successfully went on to overcome that abuse.
According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, the Department of Juvenile Justice Commissioner Bob Hayte wrote back to the Liberty Counsel:
The department's regulation is neutral as to religion and requires respectful language toward youth by all staff, contractors and volunteers.
The regulation advances a compelling government interest in developing a trusting, therapeutic relationship with the children in DJJ custody, which requires an environment of unconditional acceptance.