At some point or another the majority of adults have seen those flashing police car lights in the rearview mirror. You've felt your palms immediately grow sweaty, and you can suddenly hear the blood rushing through your veins.
In most cases we all know why - we were speeding, ran a stop sign, blew a red light - we KNOW we did something and got caught.
So we pull over. We wait. We roll down the window. When asked by the officer, we produce our license, registration, and insurance information. We wait some more as he or she checks everything out, returns with a ticket or a warning, and sends us on our way.
It's not comfortable, but typically it is over quickly, and we drive off - tell the truth, you are never a better driver than in those first couple miles after a ticket, right?
In some instances, we lose the officer lottery and pull an ahole. A person with a badge who likes their authority and the sound of their own voice a little too much. They are overbearing, threatening, and it is evident that they enjoy being a bully.
But even then, the routine traffic stop runs its course and you drive away, swearing under your breath as you are the best driver in the world for the next couple miles.
And yes, we are all aware of the horror stories, too - the rapes by cops; the absolutely unbalanced experience that exists between a white person being pulled over vs a black person being pulled over for the same offense. These things happen and are unforgiveable.
But what happened in Indiana recently creates its own column on the traffic stop spreadsheet.
Driver Ellen Bogan saw the lights in her rearview, pulled over, and waited for the officer. Brian Hamilton approached and asked the questions: License? Registration? Insurance? Have you accepted Jesus as your savior?
Not even kidding.
He then proceeded to ask about her faith multiple times, and went back to his patrol car to get a pamphlet to give her promoting a radio show by "Trooper Dan Jones" called "Policing for Jesus Ministries." It included a four-point list of "God's plan for salvation."
Ellen does not attend church. But she felt threatened enough to say what he wanted to hear so she could get away from him.
She has filed a formal complaint with the Indiana State Police who are "taking supervisory action." Whatever that means.
Now, I am sure there are many people who see absolutely nothing wrong with what Cop For Christ Hamilton did.
You. Are. Wrong.
His religion, YOUR religion, have no provenance over me, Ellen, or anyone else. Your religion is YOUR choice. Let it reign supreme in your home. Worship up a storm in YOUR church. But don't bring it to my door, don't ask me about it in a checkout line, and you sure as hell do not get to proselytize to me in a traffic stop.
I am under zero obligation to worship any way. And what YOU believe is only ONE of thousands of options out there. Frankly, what I believe or don't believe is none of your damned business.
"Have you accepted Jesus as your savior?"
The better question is when are religious people going to accept that not everyone believes what they believe and THAT"S JUST FINE?
I am completely exhausted by the continual whine by Christians that they are somehow being persecuted. Micah Clark, executive director of the American Family Association of Indiana (a certified hate group),said that while a traffic stop might not have been the best time to quiz someone about faith, it doesn't mean the officer should lose his right to free speech.
Bull and shit.
This is not a free speech issue. The government did not come along and throw him in jail. No one has closed your churches. Your Bibles have not been ripped from your hands. You have not been strangled by your rosary beads in the town square. YOU ARE NOT BEING PERSECUTED.
You are simply being reminded, REPEATEDLY, that not everyone buys into your stories, your belief system, your manmade "values" that favor you and shit on others.
We get it. You don't like gay marriage - then don't have one. You don't approve of abortion - then don't have one. You love the Lord - great! Love Him all day long, but know that using Him as a threat or a weapon flies in direct opposition of everything He supposedly stood for and taught.
It's not persecution to stand up and remind you that your religion does not get to write laws governing the populace.
Bottom line: if you want your choices respected and left alone? Then get it through your heads once and for all that you owe everyone else the EXACT SAME COURTESY.
Your religion belongs in your home, your church, and your heart, not in the public square, and certainly not in a traffic stop.