Indiana Trooper Sued for Sharing Gospel During Traffic Stop

10 Oct

And rightly so, in my opinion.

UNION COUNTY, Indiana – A police officer in Indiana has been leveled with a lawsuit for sharing the gospel with a driver during a traffic stop.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is representing complainant Ellen Bogan, 60, who claims that Indiana State Police trooper Brian Hamilton violated her constitutional rights by asking her about her religious beliefs after he pulled her over for an alleged traffic violation.

According to reports, the incident occurred in August in Union County, Indiana. Hamilton gave her a warning about making an illegal pass—and then asked her if she went to church anywhere. He also reportedly asked her if she had accepted Jesus as her Lord and savior.

“I’m not affiliated with any church. I don’t go to church,” Bogan told the Indianapolis Star. “I felt compelled to say I did, just because I had a state trooper standing at the passenger-side window. It was just weird.”

The trooper then asked Bogan if he could give her a tract, and he went to his vehicle to retrieve it for her.

“The whole time, his lights were on,” she said. “I had no reason to believe I could just pull away at that point, even though I had my warning.”

Bogan later contacted the Indiana State Police to lodge a complaint and request an investigation. She also enlisted the assistance of the ACLU to file a lawsuit claiming that Hamilton violated her First and Fourth Amendment rights by speaking to her about matters of faith and handing her a tract that asks the recipient to “realize you’re a sinner” and “realize the Lord Jesus Christ paid the penalty for your sins.”

It’s one thing for ordinary Christians to have the freedom to be able to share the Gospel with colleagues in day-to-day conversation.

It’s another for police to take advantage of their ability to stop people from their regular movements, and accost them with proselytization while they have a captive audience.

A balance needs to be struck in society, in terms of finding the right place within the public square for sharing the faith.

There is a time and place for everything, as Scripture acknowledges.

Agents of a state committed to religious neutrality in a country with freedom of religion should not be taking advantage of their powers to proselytize ordinary citizens who aren’t their colleagues, while on the job, especially under such circumstances as this.

I wouldn’t want a cop to pull me over, and proselytize Islam, or Judaism, or atheism; I can therefore sympathize with this atheist woman.

The corollary of the Golden Rule is that you don’t do unto others what you wouldn’t have them do unto you.

Therefore this cop was wrong, and should accordingly be punished.


Posted by on October 10, 2014 in America, law, religion, spirituality, Theology


49 responses to “Indiana Trooper Sued for Sharing Gospel During Traffic Stop

  1. Will S.

    October 10, 2014 at 8:12 am

    Reblogged this on Will S.' Anarcho-Tyranny Blog and commented:

    Reblogging this here, because once again, we have a case of a police officer abusing his position; even though I’m myself a Christian, I object to this abuse of power and position.

  2. sfcton

    October 10, 2014 at 8:42 am

    they wouldn’t sue if it was hajji wanting to chop off her head for not wearing proper clothing

  3. Will S.

    October 10, 2014 at 9:09 am

    Probably not.

  4. infowarrior1

    October 10, 2014 at 10:05 am

    @Will S.

    ”It’s another for police to take advantage of their ability to stop people from their regular movements, and accost them with proselytization while they have a captive audience.”

    Not unless its prison ministry.

  5. Will S.

    October 10, 2014 at 10:15 am

    Ah, but it isn’t police or prison officials acting as chaplains; it’s chaplains from churches, admitted by the State – and these days, they’ll let in not only Christian chaplains, but others, too, so no-one can accuse them of picking favourites.

    Besides, by refusing to abide by laws, criminals who end up in in prison have forfeited their regular rights as citizens (having refused to recognize those of others, whom they victimized in committing crimes), and so are not entitled (or shouldn’t be, anyway) to the same privileges as the rest of us.

  6. Kilrud

    October 10, 2014 at 10:19 am

    This is probably more of an issue with the modern police state, and how cops are seen more as enforcers and less as peace keepers and community helpers- probably due to the atomization of society and multikultism.

    Either way, I think it’s how things are handled. If all of this was done with a “soft” attitude after all the official business was done, I don’t see it as a problem…though it would be best to mention the person was free to go before proselytizing.

  7. Will S.

    October 10, 2014 at 10:23 am


  8. Will S.

    October 10, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Show me, Max, by the Scriptures, where Christians are commanded to set up and live under a theocracy, and support the founding of the same, rather than be able to live under and go along with liberal democracy.

    Show me how I misinterpreted Matthew 7:12.

    Go ahead.

    I’m all ears.

  9. Will S.

    October 10, 2014 at 11:10 am

    And show me how my belief in fairness, and principle, makes me unchristian.

    Go on.

    We’re all listening.

  10. Will S.

    October 10, 2014 at 11:20 am

    I know, the culture war makes everyone think only in terms of tribe, us. vs. them, rather than right and wrong.

    And goodness knows American politics, with its divide into red and blue tribes, does the same.

    But I am aiming for a higher standard here; I’m aiming for what is right, rather than mere tribalism.

    Our people can do wrong, and when they do so, it’s not wrong to call them out on it; in fact, it’s necessary.

    And police shouldn’t abuse their powers, anyway; there’s far too much of that these days as it is, and most of the time, it goes the other way, if you see all the examples I highlight at my Anarcho-Tyranny blog; it’s often street-preachers, etc. who get arrested, etc.

    I’m against police tyranny and misbehaviour in general, regardless of what side of the culture war the individual cop is acting on behalf of, whether in his mind or due to pressure from the powers above him.

    And so I stand on principle here.

    Principle, you know; that thing those of us who are Christian have generally been known for, unlike the Left, who are all about power, and forcing others to do their bidding, and will jettison principles as perceived needed.

  11. Will S.

    October 10, 2014 at 11:24 am

    But hey, if you can demonstrate to me, regardless of my personal faith in Christ, my standing on principle, and my commitment to fairness, that I’m somehow not Christian because I refuse to abandon such when it seems convenient, just to defend someone ostensibly on our ‘side’, I’m certainly willing to repent of my misdeeds, and embrace the faith more fully.

    But I doubt that you can.

  12. TenCents

    October 10, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    Moral narcissism on the part of (surprise, surprise) a woman.

  13. Will S.

    October 10, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    Maybe, but in this instance, said woman happens to be right.

    Would you want a cop pulling you over then preaching Islam at you? Or atheism?

    Same thing.

    We can’t just get behind this cop, just because he happens to be a Christian.

    He did wrong; he shouldn’t have detained her after warning her about her infraction, unless as Kilrud suggests, he told her she was free to go but asked her if she’d like to chat about something.

    I’d say no, and drive off; most of us would.

  14. ggee

    October 10, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    Praise the Police Officer for listening to the LORD, time is running out for people to hear the Gospel, and if they do not hear, and cannot place the appropriate trust, they will spend eternity in hell wishing they had, the Lord will not be patient with sinners forever, JUDGEMENT will come! You can help others now. There will be no second chances! The Lord will take care of the Officer! I am grateful to him for speaking up! Amen

  15. Will S.

    October 10, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    Does the Lord ask everyone in the church to proselytize complete strangers, the way Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses do? Does that work?

    Or does the Lord have most of us meet people where we live and work; people we meet everyday, having us get to know them through building relationships with them, where they can evaluate our trustworthiness and therefore have a chance to witness to them not just by our words, but how we live our lives?

    Do you think God is glorified when, instead of letting the woman go, and proceeding to catch whoever next is committing a law violation, a police officer spends time that he is on his employer’s dime (IOW, ours) to share something personal with a complete stranger who can’t even freely choose whether or not to be there? Does that make us Christians look good, to a watching world?

    We are called to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Luke 10:27); I submit that anyone who thinks either purely tribally or with mindless pure evanjellyfish zeal is wilfully being an idiot, and therefore not loving the Lord with all his or her mind.

    That includes both brain-dead hyperpartisans of the culture war and brain-dead “I just love Jesus, and wanna tell the world!” types.

  16. Kilrud

    October 10, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    As far as the Golden Rule goes, I would rather have people tell me their testimony to win me over, than leave me in darkness. I would also rather be put through an intervention than slide further on a destructive path. nonbelievers and addicts may not want some things in the beginning, only to discover it’s what they needed afterwards.

    • Will S.

      October 10, 2014 at 1:26 pm

      I see what you’re saying, Kilrud, and on that level, I agree with you.

      That said, I don’t think there should ever be compulsion in religion.

      If you’re being proselytized, and you don’t want to hear the gospel, that should be your prerogative; you shouldn’t be forced to listen – which is what happened here, with the cop detaining that atheist woman a second longer than was necessary, after having discussed her infraction and let her off with a warning.

      You should have every right to resist God, if you so choose; if you do, that’s your prerogative, you will bear the consequences on the day of judgment; you, and you alone.

      I hope people choose otherwise, but I respect their freedom to choose wrongly, and not listen to our witness.

      I am a believer in liberal democratic parliamentary constitutional monarchy, and I respect the analogous liberal democratic constitutional republican system.

      I don’t want a theocracy, with compulsion in religion; I don’t want officers of the State detaining me to proselytize me or anyone else.

  17. Will S.

    October 10, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    I see you couldn’t cite Scripture to buttress your argument. As if numbers of LDS and JoHos mean anything, in terms of what is truth.

    Fuck you, Max / whoever you are.

    All you’ve done is been an insulting asshole to me on my blog.

    You’re done commenting here.

  18. Will S.

    October 10, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    And down the memory hole your comments go – all of them.

    I may be for liberal democracy, but my blog is not one.


  19. Will S.

    October 10, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    See, the fact that two heresies have grown exponentially means jack.

    Falsehoods are often appealing.

    And truth isn’t measured by what’s popular; it’s measured by what’s right.

  20. Will S.

    October 10, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    I’m not sure why you bothered commenting here in the first place.

    However, you are henceforth freed from the burden of ever feeling the need to do so again, because you never again will. 🙂

  21. Will S.

    October 10, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    Feel free of course to go bitch to some fellow Protestantism-hating neo-rx just like yourself.

    Or start up your blog again, just to bitch about me.

  22. infowarrior1

    October 10, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    @Will S.

    On another note Angola Prison. The most violent prison in America became the least violent after a Christian warden was installed.

    No escape from Jesus and his grace in prison son. 🙂

  23. Will S.

    October 10, 2014 at 8:33 pm


  24. Kilrud

    October 10, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    Oh man, I missed all the stuff with the Dark Enlightener? One reason I couldn’t get into the ones that actively use that title is not that they’re Catholic, but that they’re Catholic for the sake of expediency.

    As for the woman being detained, I only think she assumed she was. Not that implied force isn’t real, but it just doesn’t sound that way from the story. And lest you think I’m being clannish, I also disagree with you on the lawsuit against the Canadian vikings discriminating against the Christian job applicant. I believe in freedom of association all the way… maybe I’m just anti-lawsuit.

  25. Eric

    October 10, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    It sounds more like Christians should start preaching to their own church leaders instead:

    To the deleted commenter who suggested a Theocracy—this is what it would look like, with Pope Fannie as President.

  26. Will S.

    October 10, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    @ Kilrud: Yeah, he pissed me off.

    This is the second time he’s come on here, and all he’s done is insult me; IMO, he hasn’t had anything worthwhile to say.

    So, he can go do that somewhere else, like his own site, if he wants to.

    He ain’t using my blog as a sounding board to vent against ME! Fuck that. 🙂

    As for the woman, it doesn’t sound like it was explicitly communicated to her that she was free to go; in which case, how could she realize that?

    Re: the Trinity-western case: Oh good! See, I like friendly, cheerful dissent. 🙂 Actually, I was kind of mixed in my feelings myself regarding that lawsuit in Canada, because I too dislike rushing to litigation as a first resort, and also, I don’t like encouraging the culture of grievance, but, that said, if some leftist twit is going to blatantly discriminate, I see no reason why one of ours shouldn’t use that prog weapon against them. 🙂

    But there again, I see your point. I, too, agree with freedom of association, and have indeed made that point repeatedly here with regards to matters racial and sexual orientational, etc., but I think anyone who is stupid enough to vocalize something to someone, rather than keeping it hidden, esp. an anti-Christian bigotry, deserves to suffer the consequences.

  27. Will S.

    October 10, 2014 at 9:17 pm

    @ Eric: Rather dismaying, how much love the left has for him, eh?

  28. feeriker

    October 11, 2014 at 1:48 am

    Hey, lady, ya moronette – be glad he hit you with The Word and not a taser, like most of his fellow swine would’ve done.

    Anyway, it doesn’t matter because he’s clearly a fraud. “Cop” and “Christian” are about as compatible in this day and age as “whore” wnd “nun.”

  29. infowarrior1

    October 11, 2014 at 4:28 am


    You should say it where she can see it or hear it. Else you are just preaching to the choir.

  30. rezzrovv

    October 11, 2014 at 9:08 am

    I’m oddly shocked by the fact that people are defending this cop. It is grossly inappropriate. What if he were LDS, a Johovah’s Witness or a Muslim (dumb comments aside about beheadings). Is it that he is proselytizing, we have to assume, a true gospel and not a false one that makes this OK? This is why I don’t support prayer in schools, how do you keep the Wiccans out in a pluralistic society?

  31. Will S.

    October 11, 2014 at 9:34 am

    rezzrovv: Exactly. If you allow a Christian cop to proselytize others at traffic stops, you’re allowing a Wiccan one, a Satanist one, a Muslim one, a Jewish one, an Asatru one, to likewise be equally able to proselytize.

    How, in a religiously neutral secular order, could it be otherwise?

  32. sfcton

    October 11, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    White america doesn’t spend enough time thinking of themselves as a tribe

  33. Will S.

    October 11, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    I actually agree with that (if black folks can think of themselves in terms of race, why not white folks, too? Turnabout is fair play.) but even so, the aim should still be to do what’s right, rather than what’s merely convenient.

  34. Will S.

    October 11, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    @ Everyone: That wasn’t really Mencius Moldbug, it was just someone posing as him. I thought that might be the case, and now I’m certain.

  35. Eric

    October 11, 2014 at 10:12 pm


  36. sfcton

    October 11, 2014 at 11:54 pm

    Will you should do what is right for your kith and kin not someone else family. The whole liberal agenda rest of valuing folks that live far away from you the same or more then your own blood

    I respect how Black/ Mexican folks play the tribal/ race game. They are on paper winning. Their agenda advances, our does not

  37. Will S.

    October 12, 2014 at 12:36 am

    sfcton: Of course one should, but if one holds, as we who are Christians do, to a worldview that believes that right and wrong are a matter of moral absolutes, not situational or relationally determined as progs would have it (they’re the ones who excuse crimes committed by minorities on the grounds of ‘oppression’, blah blah blah), then one must stand on principle, regardless of who is affected by doing so and why.

  38. sfcton

    October 12, 2014 at 9:04 am

    ahhh but here is where I think folks go wrong; they mistake in group morality vs out group morality. Women do this all the time, so do liberals They way you deal with family is different then how you deal with strangers. The New testament is in group morality; the Old teaches you how to deal with out groups.

  39. Will S.

    October 12, 2014 at 9:25 am

    But in a liberal democracy, who is the out group?

    Citizens of other countries, certainly. But that’s it; otherwise, we have equality under law, even if not genetic.

  40. sfcton

    October 12, 2014 at 11:17 am

    Your smallest in group is your blood family and it expands from there. In the usa I say the out group is anyone who’s forefathers weren’t around when we fought the British in the War of Independence. They are not and will never be american. in The South, anyone who’s forefathers weren’t around when we fought the damnyankee

    the america as a melting pot would have been unthinkable to the Founding Fathers

  41. Will S.

    October 12, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    Certainly, but laws apply to all within a particular territory; even foreigners visiting a country have to obey its laws.

  42. Will S.

    October 12, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    And as far as I can tell about this particular situation, both the police officer and the woman he stopped are white Americans, of WASP ancestry.

    Of course, he is a Christian, and she isn’t.

    But they still appear to be of the same ‘tribe’…

  43. sfcton

    October 13, 2014 at 9:06 am

    not in the usa Will. Ie mexicans and all the nations that have culture sensitive courts and sentencing where hajjis get away with all kinds of bullshit and basically what yo are doing is preaching a version of multi -culturalism which is death to the people of origin

  44. Will S.

    October 13, 2014 at 10:06 am

    Ah, so it’s like Britain with the ‘sharia’ courts; they tried to bring those into Ontario, and the liberal premier vigorously protested the idea, and it never happened…

  45. sfcton

    October 13, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    sure and women do less jail time for the same stuff; black crime is excused, hate crime laws target the very small amount of white on black crime and not the shit ton of black on white crime…. even voting patterns in the usa show an inter white ethnic conflict so it is very likey they are not of the same tribe

  46. Will S.

    October 13, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    Yes. We have much of the same shit here, too, in that regard…

  47. sfcton

    October 13, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    yea so we are not one nation or one people. Not any sense of the word.


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