Ford County Kansas Sheriff Intimidates Pastors to Cancel Night For Life Event: Rev. CJ Conner

“This is reckless.” This is how Ford County Kansas Sheriff Bill Carr described plans to hold a worship gathering for families on March 28th to come together for healing and support in the face of a major suicide epidemic in Dodge City, Kansas.  According to Rev. CJ Conner, the Ford County Sheriff and his allies engaged a full court press lobbying effort to intimidate pastors and organizers into cancelling the highly anticipated event.

“I’m not sure what happened,” said Rev. CJ Conner. “Everybody knew that I was hosting and organizing the event. People were calling me to tell me the Ford County Sheriff leaned on them to shut it down. We had the space, lots of funding donated, the Pizza donated. Neither Sheriff Bill Carr nor any of his buddies had the courage to call me.”

Rev. Conner has been a pastor for 20 years and has lived through epidemics like this. “Helping communities address suicide and create a culture of life and healing in the midst of epidemics has been a recurring theme in my ministry. What I’ve always found is also true in Dodge City: The professionals and pastors aren’t prepared for something like this. Until we are ready to humbly admit suicide epidemics are a result of our lack of experience, we can never acquire the skills we need right now to save lives.”

Before he became a pastor, Conner worked as a social worker and a counselor in a high population urban community that looked much like Dodge City.

“To intimidate Pastors and organizers into cancelling an event has a chilling effect on the free exercise of religion, especially when you are doing it behind a badge and a gun. Let’s just say people who cross Sheriff Carr get pulled over more often in Ford County.”

The day after the event was announced, 12 officers with guns and rifles drawn descended on Rev. Conner’s Aspire building in Downtown Dodge according to shop owners that rent from him.

“When I asked an officer on the scene what happened, he yelled at me. Later I got help from dispatch and the police said that the guns may have been drawn, but that it was all a misunderstanding.”

“The people in power in Dodge City want this pastor to “know his place. They want me to know that I’m not welcome in Dodge.”

Contact: Rev. CJ Conner, 620-255-9597

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