If you were to visit the Facebook page for the Mounds Police Department in Oklahoma, you would be forgiven for thinking you accidentally stumbled upon a Bible study group. That’s because damn near all of the posts are nothing more than passages from the Christian holy book.
Those are just from this month, and I’m skipping a whole bunch of them.
In a letter sent this week from the ACLU to Police Chief Antonio Porter, the group says these posts are a clear violation of the Establishment Clause and need to stop.
Sharing Bible verses, asking citizens to pray, and providing resources for Bible study directly supports and advocates for the Christian religion. These posts serve no secular purpose and instead exist solely to share the teachings of a particular religion and encourage the reader to participate in the practice of that religion. They are clear violations of a foundational constitutional principle of both the state of Oklahoma and the nation as a whole.
The ACLU of Oklahoma also said they were prepared to take legal action if these posts didn’t stop.
That letter was sent on Wednesday. There were at least four more explicitly religious posts made on the department’s Facebook page since then, so it’s clear Porter has no intention of following the very law he swore an oath to protect and uphold.
His defense is nothing more than people like it, but that’s not an excuse for breaking the law and using government resources to push your religion on everyone else. Porter also claimed he was uniting everyone, which will come as a shock to those who aren’t Christians. It all sends the message that non-Christians in that community won’t get a fair shake from Porter’s department.
The only defense may be that the page is “unofficial” in the sense that the department’s website doesn’t link to it. But it’s not like there’s an “official” page without all the religion, and Porter doesn’t deny that he’s posting the religious messages as a government official. He even posted a letter on Thursday from two state legislators supporting his proselytizing.
So bring on the lawsuit. Porter’s not going to stop. He seems to think taxpayers owe him a salary for being their pastor. It won’t stop unless the courts force him to.
(Thanks to Brian for the link)