The Montgomery County board of supervisors in Virginia recently ordered local Sheriff Hank Partin to remove decals from police cruisers that had displayed Matthew 5:9, a verse from the Bible.
“Blessed are the peacemakers,” the decals read, according to Fox News, which reported that Partin was ordered to remove them last week due to complaints regarding the separation of church and state.
“In my mind, there’s nothing wrong with the statement itself … However, based on our legal advice, when you … make the reference to Matthew 5:9, there are some serious concerns about the Establishment Clause and Separation of Church and State and the First Amendment,” board supervisor Chris Tuck told Fox News’ Todd Starnes.
According to The Roanoke Times, Partin complied with the order partly because he didn’t want to stir up undue trouble for his officers.
“In the midst of National Police Week, we want to focus on those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving their communities,” he said, referencing an annual observance that pays tribute to fallen officers. “The last thing that I want is for this to become a distraction to the men and women who serve their communities selflessly every day.”
The main culprits behind this hoopla appear to be the Freedom From Religion Foundation, known for its history of targeting Christians, and the Virginia branch of the American Civil Liberties Union.
“A Bible verse … is a sectarian and exclusively religious statement,” FFRF staff attorney Sam Grover complained to the Times. “Under the Establishment Clause, the sheriff’s office, as a government entity, must remain neutral. It cannot promote one religion over another, or religion over non-religion.”
It was not until these two organizations began kvetching that the board even took notice of the decals, which were reportedly placed on police cruisers two months ago.
“I don’t believe the citizens of Montgomery County want me to get into a situation where hundreds of thousands of dollars of tax money may end up having to be given to the ACLU,” Tuck added.
This is a sad situation all around, especially considering that Partin had merely been trying to honor his fellow officers.
You can see local coverage here:
It’s astounding that there are people out there who would spend their life’s work attacking a Christian message of peace when there are so many blatant attacks on peace all over the world.
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