A Washington firefighter was recently terminated for using his department email account to send faith-based content to fellow firemen belonging to a Christian fellowship.
Capt. Jon Sprague, who has been a firefighter of the Spokane Valley Fire Department for the past 17 years, told MyFoxSpokane.com that he was using the department email to send Christian-oriented emails to members of Spokane County Christian Firefighter Fellowship, which he founded two years ago, because it was the most effective mode of communication.
"It's not like I can just walk next door and talk to another employee about some of these things," Sprague told the local news station.
"We have 10 fire stations and three different shifts. The only real way is to communicate is that way," he added.
Sprague, who was fired Wednesday, Oct. 10, reportedly sent out the emails to the 46 members of his Christian fellowship.
"Their content has not violated a single rule of this department," Sprague told The Spokesman-Review, arguing that he only sent the emails to Christian firefighters who wanted to receive them.
Although Sprague maintains that the emails possessed no inappropriate content, Spokane Valley Fire Chief Mike Thompson argues that Sprague, although repeatedly told to stop, continued using the taxpayer-funded system for personal purposes.
"He can stand at the station, hand out fliers, we don't have a problem with that. He just can't use department-funded systems to do what he wanted to do," Thompson told MyFoxSpokane.com.
Glenn Beck-owned website The Blaze called the department's distinction between the acceptability of handing out religious flyers in the station and sending them via email "intriguing."
Sprague has told multiple media outlets that he plans to appeal the department's decision for termination, arguing that he believes he has not violated any of the department bylaws for employee conduct, and that ultimately, he believes the content of those emails is protected under law.
Until then, Sprague believes God will provide him with a new job.
"God will provide a job somewhere," the firefighter told The Spokesman-Review. "He always has. If I didn't trust Him, I wouldn't have gone this far."