SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – An Easter Facebook post by a Missouri police department is causing a stir. A picture featuring a cross and a sunrise sent to social media by the Greene County Sheriff’s Department said, “He has risen! Happy Easter everyone! 🐰🥚”
That post has generated a few hundred comments. Some of them say the picture is “inappropriate” and potentially a violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution. Many commenters simply replied “Happy Easter” to the Facebook post.
Denny Denning sites the American Civil Liberties Union. He writes: “This is why this post is getting a lot of complaints. Personally, I’m OK with your post. But, thought this might help you understand from a different perspective. And a Happy Easter to you as well.”
A link he provided sends you to this statement on the American Civil Liberties Union’s website about the government’s promotion of religion.
ACLU: GOVERNMENT PROMOTION OF RELIGION
“Religious freedom is not only one of our most treasured liberties, but it is also a fundamental human right and a defining feature of our national character. Given this nation’s robust, longstanding commitment to freedom of religion and belief, it is no surprise that the United States is among the most religious and religiously diverse nations in the world. Indeed, religious liberty is alive and well in this country precisely because our government cannot tell us whether, when, where, or how to worship, and because our government cannot take sides on matters of faith.
Recognizing the importance of religious freedom, our founders set forth the Establishment Clause as the very first freedom enshrined in the First Amendment to the U.S.”
Others praise the post for the freedom Americans have to celebrate any religion. Janet Tourville Dabbs writes, “I love this post. I’m thankful we live in a free country where we can worship in Freedom. I’m thankful for law officers that keep us safe. Thank you for all you do. I speak and pray blessings on you and your family in the name of Jesus.”
The Springfield News-Leader says that the Green County Sheriff’s Department was contacted by the American Humanist Association. They say in an email that the Greene County Police Department should, “Consider what those adhering to Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Wiccan, and Humanist beliefs must think when they see their sheriff using his office to promote Christianity.”
The American Humanist Association tweets, “There’s a difference between a holiday greeting (Happy Easter) and making religious claims (He Is Risen + image with cross and Bible quote). Politicians should know which one is constitutional.#SeparationOfChurchAndState”
The Greene County Sheriff’s Department replied to Denny Denning saying, “Some people will always complain no matter what we post. 🤷🏻♂️”
There's a difference between a holiday greeting (Happy Easter) and making religious claims (He Is Risen + image with cross and Bible quote).
— American Humanist (@americnhumanist) April 29, 2019