An interesting legal case is brewing in the tiny North Carolina county of Graham, where Sheriff Danny Millsaps has banned sex offenders from churches. Citing laws that prohibit registered sex offenders (of which there are twenty in Graham County) from being near schools and daycare centers, Millsaps said the same laws will apply to church, where children are often present. “This is an effort to protect the citizens and children of the community of Graham (County),” he wrote in the Asheville Citizen-Times. “I cannot let one sex offender go to church and not let all registered sex offenders go to church.” He suggested sex offenders interested in attending church could go to services in the county jail.
A bit of a firestorm erupted around the decision, with many claiming that sex offenders’ right to religion was being violated. Millsaps has since said that he has the county attourney looking into the issue, and may walk back his statements. “I understand I can’t keep them from going to church,” he said. “That may have been misunderstood. I’ll be the first one to say I might have made mistakes in the wording of that letter.”