November 2017 Church & State - November 2016

Okla. Town Police End Religious Facebook Postings

  AU admin

An Oklahoma police chief will stop publishing religi­ous posts on his police department’s Facebook page after advocates deemed the posts unconstitutional.

Mounds Police Department Chief Antonio Porter had been posting Bible-themed messages, including verses and lessons on the department’s page.

The ACLU of Oklahoma sent a letter informing Porter and Mounds Mayor Rosa Jackson that religious posts were an endorsement of religion from the department, hence violating the First Amendment.

“The exclusive, pervasive promotion of the Christian faith by the Mounds Police Department represents a clear violation of those legal mandates,” the Sept. 13 letter read. “By promoting one specific religion on its official Facebook page, the Mounds Police Department has established clear preference for that faith above other faiths and above no religious faith at all. This kind of government interference with our religious freedom is simply not permissible under United States or Oklahoma law.”

At first Porter said he would not stop the posts, and Jackson said she stood by him. But after mounting public pressure, Porter wrote in a Facebook post that he “would never want to place my Town at risk for any claim or ‘fight.’”

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