Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Trooper who didn't hear God's call sues state

Bruce Paris, A retired Michigan State Police trooper has filed a federal lawsuit claiming he's being punished for refusing to work as a prison chaplain despite being neither ordained nor called to the ministry:

The Belleville resident injured his back, shoulder and hand in 2000 when a semi-trailer rear-ended his patrol cruiser while stopped on the shoulder of a Detroit-area freeway. The state granted him disability retirement in 2002 that allows him to draw 60 percent of his income from pension funds and the remaining 40 percent from worker compensation benefits.

But the state last year terminated his worker compensation benefits after he refused to work as a Department of Corrections chaplain, according to his lawsuit.

"You can't just walk in and become a member of the clergy without being called," Paris told The Detroit News for a Wednesday story. "Without the call of God, my conscience wouldn't let me."

Bishop John H. Sheard of Church of God in Christ Inc. wrote to the company that handles worker compensation for the state, saying it would violate church doctrine for Paris to accept the job.
Paris, 44, is a member of the Pentecostal church who holds a master's degree in biblical studies.

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