The person who runs the official Facebook page for the Opp, Alabama Police Department needs take a refresher course on separation between church and state.
As the Friendly Atheist’s Hemant Mehta points out, the department is openly promoting Christianity. To make matters worse, they’re doing it in all caps.
In a now-deleted post to their Facebook page this Tuesday, the department blamed a recent spate of murders on young people rejecting God and embracing Satan.
“THIS PAST SUNDAY, A YOUNG MAN WAS SHOT AND KILLED IN KINSTON. MONDAY NIGHT, A MOTHER WAS SHOT AND KILLED IN NORTHERN COVINGTON COUNTY,” the post read. “THERE HAVE BEEN FIVE MURDERS IN COVINGTON COUNTY IN 2018. THESE MURDERS HAVE BEEN DONE BY OUR YOUNG PEOPLE. THIS IS HAPPENING BECAUSE WE HAVE TURNED AWAY FROM GOD AND EMBRACED SATAN. WE MAY HAVE NOT MEANT TO DO SO BUT, WE HAVE. IT IS TIME TO ASK FOR GOD’S HELP TO STOP THIS.”
A police department calling on God to fight crime instead of relying in their own capabilities isn’t a very good look.
In a letter to Opp Chief of Police Michael McDonald, the Freedom from Religion Foundation called on the department to retract the portion of the post that links secularism to murder and Satanism.
The department’s promotion and rejection of specific religious beliefs — turning toward “GOD” and away from “SATAN” — is illegal. Our Constitution’s Establishment Clause, which protects all Americans’ religious freedom by ensuring the continued separation of religion and government, dictates that the government cannot in any way endorse religion. Encouraging readers to “ASK FOR GOD’S HELP” on the official department Facebook page violates the department’s obligation under the Constitution as a government entity. We ask that the department edit the post to remove that message and refrain from posting religious messages in the future.
With the deletion of the post, the department seems to have gotten the message. But this isn’t the first time they included a religious theme in posts on their official page. Numerous past posts show the department calling on God to “bless” and “protect” its city’s citizens.
Featured image via Opp Police Department/Facebook