Grayson Fritts is out on medical leave, and has accepted a form of early retirement, called a voluntary workforce reduction buyout. The buyout had been approved before news of the sermons broke.
Knox County Sheriff Tom Spangler, Fritts' boss, says he did not fire the Bible-thumping hate mongering pastor, who has served as a Sheriff's Detective for to decades, because he fears a First Amendment lawsuit.
Spangler told Knox News that "we looked at every avenue we could look at without violating anybody’s First Amendment Rights (and) freedom of speech and the best thing for us was what we did. And that’s what we’re sticking with."
"You can look for the ACLU to look for a lawsuit, you can look for the freedom of speech people to file a lawsuit," Spangler also said. "They’re all around.”
During a June 2 sermon Pastor Fritts told supporters he's "sick of sodomy getting crammed down our throats." This week, on Wednesday, aware of the nationwide outrage, Fritts doubled down, ending his sermon by saying, "Put homos to death."
And while freedom of religion is an inherent aspect of the First Amendment, so is freedom from religion. And across the country law enforcement officers have been fired when it was determined their public statement have come in conflict with their job responsibilities or ability to equitably do their jobs.
“Obviously, people are upset, and they should be upset,” Spangler told Knox News. “Like I just said, I’m upset. What people say in their pulpit and what they say personally and their beliefs, that’s on them. And a lot of people will either agree or disagree and I think you have a lot of people disagreeing with some of the things said. I can understand that, absolutely.
Here's Sheriff Spangler speaking with the press on Friday:
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