- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 16, 2024

Kansas City apologized after posting information about NFL kicker Harrison Butker’s residence on X in an apparent attempt to retaliate against the Pro Bowl athlete.

But the state isn’t willing to let bygones be bygones.

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey opened an investigation Thursday into Kansas City Mayor Lucas Quinton’s office, accusing city officials of retaliating against the Catholic athlete for expressing his traditional religious views in a commencement speech at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas.

“Missourians of faith deserve to know why Kansas City officials decided to attack Mr. Butker for his deeply held religious beliefs,” Mr. Bailey said.

“My office will not tolerate religious discrimination from City officials. I will enforce the Missouri Human Rights Act to ensure Missourians are not targeted for their free exercise of religion,” he said.

He added that the “mayor needs to immediately turn over his office’s communications relating to this post.”

Mr. Butker drew a backlash from the left for his May 11 graduation speech in which he spoke out against abortion and “dangerous gender ideologies,” and in support of traditional family roles.

The City of Kansas City’s official account said Wednesday on X: “Just a reminder that Harrison Butker lives in the City of Lee’s Summit.”

A few hours later, the account removed the post and said: “We apologies [sic] for our previous tweet. It was shared in error,” but not before the effort to punish Mr. Butker had been widely observed and condemned.

Babylon Bee editor-in-chief Kyle Mann quipped: “We apologies that you’re about to get fired social media intern.”

Chiefs Hive, a popular Kansas City Chiefs fan account, replied: “I hate when I accidentally type out a tweet and post it in error. Happens all the time.”

Mr. Lucas responded on his “Mayor Q” account on X by acknowledging the post was “inappropriate” and promising to take action.

“A message appeared earlier this evening from a City public account,” Mr. Lucas said. “The message was clearly inappropriate for a public account. The City has correctly apologized for the error, will review account access, and ensure nothing like it is shared in the future from public channels.”

Despite the assurances, Mr. Bailey called on the mayor to produce “documents, records and communications” related to “your office’s retaliatory social media post.”

“Given that your office’s account identified where Mr. Butker may reside, it is plausible that Kansas City government officials misappropriated government resources and information to find Mr. Butker’s city of residence,” Mr. Bailey said.

“This was irresponsible at best, and is potentially a violation of Missouri law,” he added.

He also raised concerns about possible violations of state anti-discrimination law.

“Missouri law specifically prohibits faith-based discrimination against Missouri residents,” Mr. Bailey said. “Yet, your office apparently believes it is appropriate to denigrate a devout Catholic for comments he made about his own faith at a religious college.”

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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