Sheriff Roy Templeton of Mud Lick, Alabama was not having a good week.
“Of all the stunts he’d try to pull during Pride month,” the Sheriff grumbled at a video playing on his computer screen. Templeton’s surly attitude was interrupted by a voice coming from his phone.
“Sheriff? Deputy Pitts is here like you wanted,” his secretary said through the speaker.
Templeton punched a button on his handset and barked, “Tell Deputy Pitts to get his ass in here.”
‘You wanted to see me, Sheriff?” asked Deputy Jared Pitts, a detective with the Mud Lick Sheriff’s Department who preached at Holy Mother of Jesus Presbyterian on Sundays.
“Sit your ass down, bible thumper,” snarled Sheriff Templeton. “You’ve got some splainin’ to do.”
A hand swerved the monitor on Sheriff Templeton’s desk into Deputy Pitts’ view. The screen was a still shot of a hand camera used to tape sermons during services at HoMo Prez, as the locals call it.
Templeton pressed a button and the video began.
It’s time for our government to return to the biblical roots on which it was founded! The Bible is a timeless document, not something ever-evolving to suit special snowflake needs! The first thing we can do to right the failing moral compass of our soulless society is to round up all the gays and lesbians, try them for the offenses outlined in Leviticus, and then execute them for their Godless actions!
“You want to explain this bullshit, Deputy Pitts?” the Sheriff barked when the video ended.
Pitts shrugged. “It’s a church service. I preach things no one else has the spine to preach. Other ministers shy away from these topics because they’re afraid of losing churchgoers or their tithes. My ministry isn’t about money. It’s about truth.”
“Good thing it’s not about money,” Templeton responded. “Tell me, Deputy, why’d you pick Pride month to do a sermon like this?”
“Pride is a concept the LGBTQIAAP+2 lobby cooked up to shove a sinful, hate-filled, immoral lifestyle down our throats, Sheriff. It’s best to speak the truth when people will listen to it the most.”
“You’re still not getting my point, Deputy Pitts,” Sheriff Templeton spat through clenched teeth as his face visibly reddened. “So let me rephrase the question. What the hell am I supposed to do about your foolish actions?”
“I’m not sure what you mean,” Deputy Pitts stammered, visibly shaken.
“You could have shot a dog and I could’ve put a kibosh on it in a couple of hours. Most everyone looks the other way if you want to toss some black kids against a wall on the possibility you might find contraband. But this is a PR nightmare for the Sheriff’s Department. You had to act like a dumbass at that pool hall you turned into a church, spew this idiotic tripe to the six family members you call a congregation, and are stupid enough to videotape it? How do I fix your stupid?”
Templeton pointed to the escalating view count on the video, which was in the six digit range and climbing.”
“This is what the millennials call ‘viral,’ son. By tonight Mrs. Templeton won’t be able to book a hair coloring appointment with any of her favorite stylists. My brand new Ford OverCompensator will get covered in glitter. And Roy Junior’s upset because the drag queen that looks like Dolly Parton’s not coming for story hour Tuesday.”
“So what does that have to do with my ministry?” Deputy Pitts asked.
“It means you’re going to be supporting your ministry with something other than income you earn from this department, Pitts. As of now you’re fired. Clear out your desk by the end of the day and turn in your badge and service belt.”
“I’m really disheartened by your attitude in all of this, Sheriff,” Pitts said as he turned to leave. “I always thought you were a good Southern Christian man.”
“I am. You apparently missed the part of the Bible where it says ‘Love thy neighbor.’ And in Mud Lick, we love everyone no matter their sexuality. Now if they’re University of Tennessee fans, that’s a different story. We’ll send any asshole wearing Vol Orange on a Saturday on a one way trip to the county line.”
Half of Mud Lick’s residents applauded Sheriff Templeton’s decision to fire Deputy Pitts. Half were outraged and planned protests.
In short, it was a Friday in 2019.