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ICC Note: The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) recently issued a letter of complaint about an Alabama police department’s Christian summer program. During the summer, the police department offers a community program which provides devotionals and hosts dinners with local churches. The FFRF contends that this program is unconstitutional because it favors Christianity at the exclusion of other religions.

By Heather Clark

06/18/2017 United States (Christian News Network) – A prominent professing atheist group recently sent a letter to officials with a city in Alabama to assert that its police department’s mixture of God with government is unlawful.

The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) wrote to the City of Wetumpka on June 7 after learning that its police department hosts a summer community program at its facility that includes daily devotionals, and offers a monthly dinner with area churches known as “People Extending Christian Kindness.” The dinner is mentioned on the department’s Facebook page, which includes text thanking God or citing Scripture.

Some officers also host Bible studies with children on the streets.

FFRF contended in its correspondence that the police department is not being neutral toward religion by hosting the events and writing about them on Facebook, and that its involvement in Christian activities makes non-Christian residents feel like “outsiders.”

“The police department’s proselytizing and the endorsement of this proselytizing through the official Facebook pages of the city and the department violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment by favoring a specific religion over others,” the group wrote.

“[C]itizens should not be made to feel excluded or like political outsiders because the local government they support with their taxes oversteps its power by proselytizing and promoting religious events through official government channels,” it stated.

FFRF asked that all such events be discontinued and that any Facebook posts of a religious nature be deleted.


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