GAINESVILLE, Ga. — A sheriff’s deputy who served at the Hall County jail in Georgia states that he was fired this week for hosting a Bible study off site to help change the lives of former inmates.
“It was to help rehabilitate spiritually the guys who are pretty much coming out of jail,” Josh McCuen told reporters.
McCuen had been on the job for eight months when he began an outside Bible study this month for inmates who have been released from incarceration. He also began raising funds to place Bibles in the cells, and maintained a Facebook page for his ministry called Revival 172.
“About 4 months ago, while working in the jail, I came across an [inmate] Jason Williams, who God used to change my life,” he explained on the page. “God grabbed a hold of me and gave me a love for the lost. I was a law enforcement officer for 9 years, and up until 4 months ago, I thought that every suspect I arrested and every inmate was a maggot. God used an inmate to minister to me and God placed me in a jail around these guys every day to show me that they are still his people, too.”
But McCuen said that on Tuesday, he was told to resign or be fired as he had been advised that “fraternizing,” or establishing a friendship with inmates, was a violation of policy. The former jailer says that he doesn’t believe he was committing any wrongdoing.
“Never once did I preach Revival 172 inside the jail,” he told the Gainesville Times. “Never did I fraternize.”
But Sheriff Gerald Couch refuted McCuen’s claims that he was being targeted because of his Christianity, and said that religion had nothing to do with his termination.
“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,” he wrote in a statement. “The supervisor discussing this issue did not make any reference to religious beliefs or actions, but this was brought up by McCuen as a reason for his improper behavior.”
The sheriff’s department states that McCuen had been reprimanded twice for insubordination in regard to the jail’s policy against fraternizing. It also noted that religious services are held each week at the facility and Bibles are made available to those who request one.
However, McCuen suggested on his Facebook page on Saturday that further details will be forthcoming regarding his termination as he believes the whole story needs to be told.
“Some things need to be brought to light that were not brought to light by the media,” he wrote. “They only can air a little bit and that’s understandable.”
McCuen said that he will not be filing a legal challenge over the matter, but will trust God for what is ahead.
“I hold no anger or resentment toward anyone at the Hall County sheriff’s office. I thank them for allowing God to use them as a vessel to put God’s plan into motion,” he stated. “I know God will provide a job without me seeking financial restitution from a lawsuit.”
As previously reported, Kelvin Cochran, a fire chief in Atlanta, was also fired this month surrounding a book that he wrote two years ago that contained a brief reference to homosexuality, which he included in a passage surrounding sexual perversion. Mayor Kaseem Reed likewise claimed that Christianity had nothing to do with his firing, stating that he himself is a man of “very deep religious faith.” He then quoted from 1 Corinthians 14:40, which states, “Let all things be done decently and in order.”