It seems the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) isn’t quite in the mood for prayer.
Walker County (Alabama) Sheriff Nick Smith recently asked his community to pray after two tragedies. One involved the fatal shooting of Lowndes County Sheriff John Williams and the other was a car accident between a young boy and a sheriff’s deputy.
In response to Sheriff Smith’s requests for prayer, the self-described atheist group wrote a threatening letter to the sheriff asking him to quit being so openly religious.
The letter laments, “A November 23 post regarding the senseless death of the Lowndes County Sheriff invokes the idea of prayer, while the Office’s August 4 post regarding a collision between a young boy and a deputy officer, calls on citizens to ‘fall to our knees and pray fervently.’ We write to encourage your Office to use more inclusive language when posting on social media.”
More inclusive language? One wonders if the FFRF realizes the irony of its request. The FFRF can’t beg for inclusivity while attempting to exclude religion and prayer from the public square.
Alabama Public Information Officer TJ Armstrong indicated that the sheriff’s office will not comply with FFRF’s request and has no plans to quit asking people to pray. In a Facebook post, Armstrong said sarcastically, “We consider it a great honor to be considered and to have received a wonderful letter from the ‘Freedom from Religion’ organization. Proud to have a Sheriff that won’t bow to political pressure or the devices of the enemy!”
Fox News reports that, “Since the complaint, the sheriff’s office has received messages of support from the county and across the country.”
Sometimes, the FFRF argues that the word “God” appears nowhere in the Constitution. Yet, the FFRF may be surprised to learn that neither does the phrase “separation of church and state.”
The letter goes on the state that, “it is not the government’s job to promote religion over nonreligion.”
If that’s the case, then why did George Washington use the power and prestige of the presidency to promote religion over nonreligion? In Washington’s first thanksgiving proclamation, he asked Americans to pray to and obey God. He also asked that nation to beseech the Lord to forgive their sins.
If the FFRF had been around during Washington’s presidency, I’m sure they would have sent him several angry letters.
Walker County Sheriff Nick Smith should be commended for his courageous stance for religious liberty and for his faith.
You can contact Sheriff Nick Smith to express your support at (205) 302-6464.
You can follow this author on Twitter @MettlerZachary