Over the past few days, mainstream media outlets in Charlotte have reported on several resignations in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s volunteer chaplain force. At the center of the controversy is Police Chief Rodney Monroe’s support of a lesbian pastor who sought to become a member of the unit.
qnotes was first contacted about the controversy by a local media outlet on Nov. 2. We had not heard details about the situation, and throughout the past few days have learned about it as local media outlets explored the story. On Friday, this writer was asked to give a short interview about the situation by WBTV reporter Steve Crump. We reiterated what we believe to be Chief Monroe’s commitment to inclusion and diversity, a commitment he gave publicly to the LGBT community at his open forum at the Lesbian & Gay Community Center of Charlotte last month. That news report is included below.
Below is a rundown of local media coverage regarding the controversy and resignations.
Nov. 2, 2010
The first of any outlet to report on the controversy was FOX Charlotte. They ran a small “teaser” story on Nov. 2.
Nov. 3, 2010
Cedar Posts and Barbwire Fences, a local blog which follows police news and activities in the city, followed up with an in-depth blog post on Nov. 3.
According to the blog, six chaplains were asked to resign or leave. They included: Jack Munday (Billy Graham Evangelistic Association), Pastor Daren McGrew (Grace Covenant Church), Pastor Bill Fogarty (First Baptist Church of Weddington), Rev. Rollo Leimer (Emeritus, Resurrection Lutheran Church), Rev. Hugh Foy (Gateway Baptist Church), and Kristina Franklin.
Cedar Posts writes:
The reasons the clergy have left CMPD are unclear. But according to one source a dispute arose when Chief Monroe told the Chaplain Unit to open up volunteer applications to new members, specifically to bring aboard a friend of his, Rev. [Ed. Note — We have redacted this pastor’s name as sources tell us she is not “out”].
Rev. [Redacted] was unanimously rejected by the Chaplain Unit after they reviewed her application and conducted an in depth interview, but Chief Monroe told the Chaplains they “would” bring her on.
It was also noted that she was unprofessional in her interview as well. Ultimately the chaplains were not comfortable with bringing her on board and rejected her application.
According to several sources [Redacted] is a well known lesbian minister and a gay rights activist.
From what qnotes has learned, the pastor at the center of the controversy is not out. We’ve decided not to divulge her name in our media.
Cedar Posts also writes, “…the chaplains told Chief Monroe that they would resign if forced to accept [redacted], in part because their churches would not permit their association in a professional status with a homosexual minister. While several of the Chaplains routinely minister to the LGBT community they are bound by certain rules of conduct. To many having an openly gay women in their ranks violated their own congregation’s rules of conduct.”
In response, according to the blog, Chief Monroe “promptly showed them the door,” an assertion denied by the volunteer chaplains and by Monroe in letters later released on Nov. 5.
Nov. 4, 2010
Following the blog coverage at Cedar Posts, FOX Charlotte ran this story on Nov. 4:
Nov. 5, 2010
And, on Nov. 5, two letters from CMPD addressed the story and responded to the confusion.
Chief Monroe responded with a letter directly addressing the volunteer chaplaincy. In it, Monroe says he will “respect the decisions and convictions of those who have decided to resign, as I would never ask anyone to compromise their beliefs. But I do hope that those of us who remain, continue our dedication to this Department and continue to embrace our goal of being an inclusive organization that respects the differences of all of our employees.” Read Monroe’s letter the chaplains here (PDF).
A letter from the volunteer chaplaincy corps was also written and released. It says no resignations were asked or demanded from those chaplains who have left the unit. Read that letter here (PDF).
WBTV aired this story on Nov. 5, addressing concerns over the resignations and the shifting of responsibilities for the chaplaincy force:
Nov. 6, 2010
Last, but not least, The Charlotte Observer reported on the story the morning of Nov. 6. Writer Franco Ordoñez delves into the controversy and reiterates CMPD statements that no person was asked to leave or resign. Read Ordoñez’s full report at the daily paper’s website.