ICC Note: The Freedom From Religion Foundation recently issued a letter of complaint, requesting that Senator Marco Rubio refrain from posting Bible verses through his official Twitter account. Although the tweets are not being posted to his separate press office account, the atheist group alleges that the tweets are unconstitutional nonetheless due to the perception that his account is government-related. At the time of writing, Rubio continues to tweet out Bible verses despite the complaint.
By Heather Clark
08/30/2017 United States (Christian News Network) – A prominent professing atheist group has sent a letter to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, urging him to stop sharing Bible verses on his official Twitter account, which they say violates the separation of Church and State.
The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent the letter on Aug. 22, noting that Rubio has tweeted over 60 Scriptures in the past three months. It asserted Rubio is violating the Constitution since he is posting the messages on what the group perceives as being a government-related account, not a private and personal account focusing on his home and family life.
“[I]t is not for the government in our secular republic to promote one religious book over others or to promote religion over nonreligion. Doing so violates the Establishment Clause of the Constitution,” wrote FFRF’s director of strategic response, Andrew Seidel.
“When it comes to violations of the Establishment Clause, i.e., the government endorsing religion, appearances matter. Government officials cannot appear to endorse Christianity,” he asserted. “In this instance, by tying your government title to a social media page, you have intimately entwined your official position with the messages you send on that platform, creating the appearance of official endorsement.”
Even though Rubio has a separate press office account, FFRF believes the @MarcoRubio account can still be considered a government-related account because “the Bible tweets appear to be tied to your identity as a government actor and were facilitated by the apparent authority of that office. The tweets arise out of public, not personal, circumstances. The account is used to keep constituents informed of the activities of Marco Rubio the senator, not Marco Rubio the private citizen and family man.”