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Atheist Organization Complains about Biblical Posts on Sheriff Dept.'s Facebook Page

  • Amanda Casanova

    Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and…

  • 2018 Jan 15

A Louisiana sheriff’s office has removed biblical and Christian posts from its Facebook page following a complaint from the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

The Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office pulled posts that included biblical scripture and other Christian content after the Freedom From Religion Foundation complained.

FFRF staff attorney Andrew Seidel sent a letter to Sheriff Randy Seal in June 2017, saying that Seal was quoting Scripture in his official statements. Seidel said the office was also using the page to promote Christianity.

In June, the cover photo for the sheriff’s office Facebook page said, “Lord when I sit in the chair of leadership, please do not let it be said that the chair is still empty.”

In February 2017, the office posted on the account, “Around the world today Christians united to celebrate the sacrifice and resurrection of our Savior Jesus.”

Also in December 2016, a post said, “Many centuries ago, the Jewish Prophet Isaiah said, 'For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace,' (Isaiah 9:6 KJV). That prophecy was fulfilled hundreds of years later with the birth of Jesus, and it is His birth that we celebrate during this Christmas season."

Seal also hosted a prayer event in September 2015 and used the Facebook page to promote it.

According to the letter, the FFRF acted after a local resident contacted the group.

Seidel said that the posts on the page promoted Christianity over other religions and constituted a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

"The Supreme Court has long recognized that the First Amendment 'mandates governmental neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion,'" Seidel wrote.

The sheriff’s office has not issued a statement about the removal of the posts.


Publication date: January 15, 2018