From time to time we do encounter people who preach religion to us. Whether it be someone who hands us a pamphlet in the mall or someone knocking in our front door. It happens, it is their right to speak, but we do have the right to not listen if we wanted.
But what if the one preaching to us is a police officer who had just pulled us for a traffic violation? Someone who had the authority to hold us at that moment; can we still just leave and not listen?
This is a question that was faced by 60 year old Ellen Bogan when she was pulled over to a stop for an alleged traffic violation in August on U.S. 27 in Union county, by Indiana Police State Trooper Brian Hamilton.
According to Bogan after Hamilton handed her a ticket. The State Trooper allegedly started posing personal question about her faith.
"It's completely out of line and it just — it took me aback," Bogan told the Indianopolis Star
,"The whole time, his lights were on. I had no reason to believe I could just pull away at that point, even though I had my warning."
Bogan and the American Civil Liberties Union have filed a lawsuit against Hamilton stating in it that he allegedly violated Bogan's First and Fourth Amendment rights when he asked probing questions about her religion and handed her a church pamphlet.
"The most important thing for people to understand is that the First Amendment specifies that the government shall not prefer one religion over another religion, or religious adherence over anything else," said Indiana University Robert H Mckinney School of Law Professor Jennifer Drobac "The police officer is representing the government ... so that means, as a representative, this person, while on duty, while engaged in official action, is basically overstepping and is trying to establish religion."
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