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Ousted jail chaplain says he shows inmates Christ. That's not his job, NC officials say

News & Observer - 4/2/2019

April 01-- Apr. 1--A North Carolina jail chaplain is out of a job after he told a newspaper he had a "mandate" to show Christ in a role that was supposed to represent all religious beliefs, according to a Facebook post from the Guilford County Sheriff's Office.

Rick Taylor, an evangelical Christian, was working with the High Point Jail Ministry when he said he would give Bibles to Muslim inmates, the High Point Enterprise reported on March 29. He said some "push their Quran across" the table and say they "don't need that" after getting the Bible, the newspaper reported.

Taylor also said he tries to work with people who have mental health issues by offering them help through Jesus, according to the High Point Enterprise. He also thinks inmates with depression "need a change of heart and a foundation with God" and showed favor toward minimizing addiction treatment groups, the report says.

He said he enjoyed giving sermons at the jail because the inmates "don't have many other ways to spend their time," per the High Point Enterprise.

The sheriff's office said Monday in a Facebook post that Taylor was no longer a chaplain at the jail and that his views don't reflect the practices within the facility.

"The Guilford County Sheriff's Office recognizes that all inmates are free to worship the religion of their choice," the department said. "Further, the comments made diminishing mental health, addiction and depression/suicide are not reflective of our stance on the medical and mental health care of those in custody."

Deputies have resources for mental health and addiction and "understand the complexities associated with these issues," the Facebook post said.

The office is "reviewing contracts" for "chaplaincy services" at High Point and Greensboro jails, the sheriff's office said.

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(c)2019 The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)

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