ICC Note: Following a complaint from the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), a Wisconsin police department has taken down a prayer plaque hung in their public station. The sign depicted a “Police Officer’s Prayer” and called on God for things such as “compassion for the innocent” and “great courage” in the face of danger. The FFRF asserted that the plaque was unconstitutional in that it could be seen as a government endorsement of religion and that it excluded those who are not religious.
By Heather Clark
04/26/2017 United States (Christian News Network) – A police department in Wisconsin has removed a prayer plaque from its walls following receipt of a complaint from a prominent professing atheist organization.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) recently sent a letter to the Onalaska Police Department after being informed by a local resident—who it left anonymous—that a “Police Officer’s Prayer” plaque had been displayed on the wall in a public area of the police station.
“Lord, I ask you to be with me in a very special way as I face the challenges that I must face each day,” it reads in part. “Please give to me compassion for the innocent I see. Help me to protect and serve those who depend upon me.”
FFRF asserted that the display was unconstitutional because it called upon God for strength for the duty.
“While it is laudable for the OPD to recognize the challenges officers face and to promote compassion and courage in law enforcement, these sentiments may not be couched in the religious message that a God should be [the] officers’ ‘guide’ in their work, and is responsible for officers’ success and safety,” its correspondence read.
“Anyone viewing this display would understand the OPD to be endorsing religion and belief in a God,” it said.