Tallahassee, Fla., Police Chief Lawrence Revell is facing criticism for getting paid to speak at a rally sponsored by the Billy Graham Evangelical Association (BGEA).

Revell spoke at the BGEA event, which was held in North Carolina and aimed at members of the law-enforcement community, in September. Revell said he took time off to participate in the event, which he first cleared with his supervisor, reported the Tallahassee Democrat.

Some members of the Tallahassee City Commission said they were concerned that Revell’s appearance at the event sent the wrong message, since it could be construed that he was speaking on behalf of the city. The BGEA, which is run by Billy Graham’s son Franklin Graham, is stridently anti-LGBTQ. Franklin Graham has also endorsed conspiracy theories about the outcome of the 2020 presidential election and the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol by right-wing extremists.

“I do not feel resolved with this issue,” Commissioner Jack Porter said. “Everywhere we go, we don’t stop being commissioners. It is concerning some of the things you said and the context under which it was said. I think there are people who would like a response.”

Revell insisted he harbors no bias.

“How I treat every citizen of this county and how I treat my officers will never ever include any kind of discrimination,” Revell said. “My religion tells me that I am to go forward and make disciples. That’s a command in my religion. Do I do that to discriminate against anyone? No, and I never would. Do I proudly proclaim what I believe? I do and I always will.”

In the end, the commission took no action against Revell.


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Abortion bans violate the separation of church and state. Americans United and the National Women’s Law Center—the leading experts in religious freedom and gender justice—have joined forces with thirteen clergy from six faith traditions to challenge Missouri’s abortion bans as unconstitutionally imposing one narrow religious doctrine on everyone.

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