The US State of Kentucky has come under fire for forcing ministers who volunteer as counsellors at youth prisons to sign a policy which asserts that homosexuality is not sinful.
One minister, David Wells, has been dismissed from his role as a counsellor leading to the policy being discovered.
Mr Wells is receiving legal support from Liberty Counsel, an organisation which advocates for religious freedom.
The policy, by the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), states that DJJ staff and volunteers, “shall not imply or tell LGBTQI juveniles that they are abnormal, deviant, sinful or that they can or should change their sexual orientation or gender identity”.
According to Liberty Counsel, David Wells was asked to sign a form “promising to refrain from telling any juvenile inmates that homosexuality was ‘sinful'”.
The Baptist minister had already worked at the prison facility for more than ten years when he was asked to do so.
However, after refusing to sign the form, he was dismissed by a brusque letter from the Superintendent of the prison, Gene Wade.
The letter read: “I must terminate your involvement as a religious volunteer serving the youth in this facility per DJJ Policy 112, Section IV, Paragraph H, (8).”
Liberty Counsel have sent a letter to the Kentucky DJJ’s commissioner Bob Hayter, stating that the dismissal was “unconstitutional”.
Mat Staver, chairman of the organisation, said: “Many juveniles are in DJJ custody because of sexual crimes”.
“Pastor Wells must be able to discuss what the Bible says about matters of sexuality with the juveniles he is trying to help.
“To remove the Bible from a pastor’s hands is like removing a scalpel from a surgeon’s hands. Without it, they cannot provide healing.”