Had an Islamic police officer been punished for refusing to obey an order to attend Christian church services, rest assured major news organizations would have reported the dispute. Civil rights organizations would have rushed to support the officer.
To our knowledge, no such situation has occurred. But in Tulsa, Okla., police Capt. Paul Fields lost two weeks' pay, was placed on a late-night shift and told he will not be eligible for promotion for at least a year - because he refused to obey an order to attend an event, including religious services, at the Islamic Cultural Society. Part of the penalty was because Fields refused to order officers under him to attend.
Fields made two things clear: First, faith - his or that of other people - plays no part in how he handles calls for police assistance. Second, as a dedicated Christian, he felt the order was an infringement on his First Amendment freedom of religion.
National media outlets (with one exception) paid little attention to Fields' complaint. Organizations which have aided non-Christians in religious freedom cases offered him no help.
Those who point out our nation's separation of church and state doctrine is being misused to target Christians often are ridiculed. But the Fields case - and relative lack of concern about it - is powerful evidence and reason for concern about whether individual liberties are being protected selectively.