ICC Note: On December 21, the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) issued a letter of complaint after finding out that a Texas sheriff, Ronny Dodson, planned to place cross decals on the department’s deputy vehicles. The FFRF claimed that the decals are unconstitutional because they act as a government endorsement of a particular religion. It is not clear if the department or Sheriff Dodson plan to respond to the FFRF’s demands to abandon his plans to display the decals.
By Heather Clark
12/26/2015 United States (Christian News Network) – A prominent professing atheist group is seeking to stop a Texas sheriff from placing cross decals on his deputy vehicles out of its assertion that doing so violates the U.S. Constitution.
The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) wrote to the Brewster County Sheriff’s Office on Monday after learning of Sheriff Ronny Dodson’s plan to place the crosses on the vehicles. It pointed to a status on the Office Facebook page, written by Debbie Skelton, the mother of a local deputy.
“We stand with Sheriff Ronny Dodson on his decision to place crosses on all of his deputies’ vehicles,” it reads in part. “He said that he wanted God’s protection over his deputies and that the thin blue line [on the crosses] stands for law enforcement.”
“As the mother of one of these officers, I appreciate this bold statement in a time when everyone is so worried about being ‘politically correct,’” Skelton stated.
But FFRF says that the placement of the decals is unlawful and violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
“Displaying a Latin cross on Brewster County Sheriff’s Offices’ patrol vehicles violates the Establishment Clause,” staff attorney Sam Grover wrote in a letter to Dodson on Monday. “It is inappropriate and unconstitutional for a government entity to display a Latin cross on its property because it conveys a preference by the sheriff’s office—and by extension, Brewster County–for religion over non-religion and Christianity over all minority faiths.”
He asserted that some citizens who contact the police for help might become offended and feel inferior when they see the decals.