Indiana state trooper seeks reinstatement in religious flap

Posted: Friday, May 21, 2004

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) A Baptist state trooper, fired after refusing a casino assignment that he said violated his religious beliefs, wants the Indiana Supreme Court to reinstate him.

Ben Endres said he was willing to do crime-fighting at the Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City but could not agree when the state made him a full-time gaming officer there. He was fired in 2000 after being a trooper since 1991.

Though federal law protects people from discrimination based on religion, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago said that doesn't require police and fire departments to assign workers to duties compatible with their principles.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Endres' appeal.

Attorney David Kolbe of Warsaw told the Indiana justices at a hearing that the state constitution is more definitive on protecting religious rights than the U.S. Constitution.

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