MOUNDS, Okla. — The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has requested that a police department in Oklahoma stop posting Scripture to social media, asserting that doing so violates the U.S. Constitution.
The ACLU of Oklahoma sent a letter to the mayor of Mounds on Wednesday to express concern about the biblical posts, which were referred to as a “clear establishment of religion.”
“Sharing Bible verses, asking citizens to pray, and providing resources for Bible study directly supports and advocates for the Christian religion,” the group wrote. “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.”
“As the official Facebook page of a city police department, the account’s direct advocacy of the Christian religion is not only inappropriate but unconstitutional.”
The ACLU further contended in a statement, “[T]he actions of the Mounds Police Department call into question whether or not the department can be trusted to adequately protect all those living under its jurisdiction, including members of minority faiths and those of no religious faith at all.”
The group has threatened a lawsuit if the police department continues to post Scripture on its Facebook page.
Mounds Police Chief Antonio Porter, who also serves as pastor of Wayland Baptist Church in Eufaula, told local television station KTUL that he is only “doing something positive for the community” and that he has no plans to stop encouraging others to do honor God and do right.
“This is not about a fight, this is about love. If they want to fight, they can fight—fight by themselves,” he remarked to the outlet. “I’m going to continue to spread love and encouragement.”
“David and Goliath—my analogy is this: I’m not going to throw a rock, I’m going to keep throwing the word, and let the word fight for itself,” Porter said.
Two state lawmakers have now sent Porter a letter expressing support for his daily posts.
“We admire the courage you are showing in the face of adversity,” wrote Sen. James Leewright, R-Bristow, and Rep. Mark Lawson, R-Sapulpa. “No matter what we do, there always seems to be somebody of some organization waiting in the shadows for the chance to steal our joy. Your tenacity to let your light shine is commendable.”
They sent Porter a word of Scripture themselves from the Sermon on the Mount to encourage the chief.
“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father,” the letter read, quoting from Matthew 5:14-16.
Porter posted Scripture to the Mounds Police Department page on Thursday, unmoved by the ACLU’s demand.