A former Atlanta metro area sheriff's deputy says his bosses fired him because he was trying to spread the gospel according to WSB-TV Atlanta.
Josh McCuen worked at the Hall County jail for eight months. He recently started a Bible study group off site for former inmates and began raising funds to put Bibles in every cell. He had also started playing host to Sunday services at the business center of his apartment complex in Gainesville, reports the Gainesville Times.
"It's a calling on my life from God to actually hold this Revival 172 in my free time in a public place for former inmates to help them rehabilitate spiritually," he said.
His first two sessions brought out only employees, but on the last Sunday, two former inmates attended, McCuen said.
Sheriff Gerald Couch responded Friday in a statement, saying religion played no part in the separation. The Sheriff's Office said McCuen had recently disobeyed a direct order concerning an inmate. According to the Gainesville Times, commanders called
it fraternizing with inmates or known criminal elements. They said that policy violation, along with two reprimands for insubordination, cost McCuen his probationary job.
"It's clear they call it fraternizing. It's actually called being persecuted for Christ," McCuen said.
A department spokeswoman said the jail holds numerous religious services each week. In his statement, Couch said Bibles and religious materials are readily available for inmates.
"I have a strong Christian faith and neither I nor anyone at the Sheriff's Office would ever persecute someone for their faith, whatever that may be," Couch said in a statement.
McCuen said that so far, he hasn't been given a reason why he was called in Tuesday and told to resign or be fired. But he said all the questions pertained to the Revival 172 Facebook page that he set up and his fundraising site.
"Never once did I preach Revival 172 inside the jail. Never did I fraternize," McCuen said Friday.
WSB-TV Atlanta asked McCuen if he believes that he'd still be working had it not been for the Bible studies.
"Absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt,"
McCuen said he has no plans to file a lawsuit and is not looking to create a spectacle for financial gain.
"I am not angry," he said. "I hold no ill will and I hold no animosity toward anybody at the Hall County Jail."
[Image via Wikimedia]