Official Blog of the Bishop of Durham

Missouri Oppresses Nazarite Cop

Posted by NT Wrong on June 9, 2008

But surely it’s contrary to nature itself …

ST. LOUIS: Police officer sues over length of hair

St. Louis police Officer Scott Jason Tillis sued the department this week in federal court, claiming that superiors violated his civil rights last year by ordering him to cut his hair.

Tillis, who joined the force in 2001, said he had kept his hair long as part of a Nazarite vow. In the Old Testament Book of Numbers, God describes the vow to Moses as a path to holiness requiring abstinence from wine and haircuts and avoidance of the dead.

In his complaint in U.S. District Court, Tillis said he cut his hair in October to save his job, but that the department continued to say his hair was against the rules. He is now suspended.

The Missouri Human Rights Commission and the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission closed investigations into Tills’ claims without findings but authorized him to sue his employer, according to documents filed with the suit.

The police department did not respond to the allegations. Tillis could not be reached for comment.


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