It’s Okay to Decorate a Police Car with Rainbow Flags, but Not Bible Verses

It’s permissible in the United States to decorate police cars with rainbow flags to celebrate gay pride, but it’s not permissible to decorate police cars with Bible verses honoring law enforcement officers.

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The Houston Police Dept. is debuting a “Pride Car” for the city’s gay pride parade, the Houston Chronicle reports.

Police Chief Art Acevedo is downright giddy about the new rainbow cruiser and the parade.

The newspaper reports the chief “strongly encouraged” top police brass to join him in the march.

"By actually participating ... we send a very powerful message that we're an inclusive department," he said, "where every segment of society is welcome, is respected, and will be protected by the Houston Police Department," he told the newspaper.

The rank and file, however, are not so appreciative of the police chief’s strong-arm tactics.

“Our duty is to protect and serve, not participate in an event that completely goes against our religious beliefs,” one unidentified commander told the newspaper.

Houston is not the first American city to place gay pride decals on taxpayer-funded vehicles.

The New York City Police Dept. debuted its gay pride patrol car in 2016, UnicornBooty.com reports.

The NYPD replaced its slogan – courtesy, professionalism, respect – for “pride-centric” words like pride, equality, and peace.”

“How fabulous is that,” the website asked.

Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert directed officers to display gay pride decals on their patrol cars – a decision that rankled the Fraternal Order of Police.

“We have a variety of taxpayers in the city of Pittsburgh with different viewpoints, which can create controversy if support for different events is shown,” FOP President Robert Swartzwelder told television station KDKA.

Chief Schubert said the decals show their police department is tolerant.

“To be honest I was appalled when I saw the statement by the Fraternal Order of Police,” he told the television station. “It just goes against what we are trying to accomplish with the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police and police departments around the city.”

Houston’s decision stands in stark contrast to an issue I wrote about in May – when the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Dept. was ordered to remove decals bearing a portion of a well-known Bible verse from patrol cars.

The decal, which had been posted on vehicles, bore the words, “Blessed are the peacemakers…Matthew 5-9.”

“Our intent was, and still is, to honor our fellow brothers and sisters in law enforcement,” Sheriff C.H. Partin told me.

Different city, different rules. I understand that. And some might even say it’s unfair to draw the comparison. But I really was struck by something the unnamed commander said -- about being strong-armed into marching in a parade in spite of his religious objections. 

The commander has a valid point. However, these days tolerance and diversity is no longer extended to people of faith. Those who follow teachings of Christ have effectively been shoved into a closet -- and that's nothing to be proud of.