OPP, Ala. — One of the nation’s most conspicuous atheist groups, which says that it works to maintain the separation of Church and State, has lodged a complaint after a police department in Alabama posted a status this week noting that there have been five local murders this year—all committed by youth—and remarking that such evil is occurring because men have “turned away from God.”
According to reports, the Opp Police Department posted a notice to Facebook on Tuesday advising that a young man had been killed on Sunday, and a mother also died after being shot on Monday night. It noted that there had been five murders in Covington County in 2018.
“These murders have been done by our young people,” the post mourned. “This is happening because we have turned away from God and embraced Satan. We may have not meant to do so, but we have.”
“It is time to ask for God’s help to stop this,” the status continued. “It’s time to be parents and raise our children, not have them raise us. It is time to fully support law enforcement and stand by the officers and deputies that are far too often having to walk into these dangerous situations and clean up the mess.”
On Wednesday, the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) wrote a letter to Chief Michael McDonald and Assistant Chief Kevin Chance, stating that it had received “multiple citizen complaints” about the post.
“The department’s promotion and rejection of specific religious beliefs—turning toward ‘God’ and away from ‘Satan’—is illegal,” it asserted. “Our Constitution’s Establishment Clause, which protects all Americans’ religious freedom by ensuring the continued separation of religion and government, dictates that the government cannot in any way endorse religion.”
“Encouraging readers to ‘ask for God’s help’ on the official department Facebook page violates the department’s obligation under the Constitution as a government entity,” the correspondence continued. “We ask that the department edit the post to remove that message and refrain from posting religious messages in the future.”
FFRF further argued that the Opp Police Department had no proof that violent crime is a result of men turning away from God, and rather asserted that it is the least religious countries of the world that “have the lowest rates of violent crime, homicide and corruption.”
“The most religious states in the nation tend to have the highest rates of poverty, obesity, infant mortality, sexually transmitted diseases, teen pregnancy, murder and violent crime,” it wrote. “The Opp Police Department’s claim that increased religiosity would lower crime is simply nonsense.”
Following reports about the matter, a number of dissenters have posted mocking comments on the Opp Police Department Facebook page, such as “Hail Satan 666,” “Did you arrest Satan yet,” “Good work, Satan” and “All the roads are wet because of your lack of belief in God.”
However, some have expressed support for the department, leaving messages such as “We stand behind you, OPD. God bless you and protect you. Isaiah 54:17,” “God bless your department for taking a stand,” and “I feel very sorry for the lost. Come Jesus! Stand up Opp Police Department!”
While it is not known whether or not McDonald or Chance plan to respond, the post at issue has apparently been deleted as of press time.
As previously reported, the Opp Police Department is not the first to make comments lamenting that rampant sin the result of rebellion against God.
U.S. Secretary of State Daniel Webster (1782-1852), who served under three presidents—William Henry Harrison, John Tyler and Millard Fillmore—once declared, “If religious books are not widely circulated among the masses in this country, I do not know what is going to become of us as a nation. If truth be not diffused, error will be.”
“If God and His Word are not known and received, the devil and his works will gain the ascendancy. If the evangelical volume does not reach every hamlet, the pages of a corrupt and licentious literature will. If the power of the Gospel is not felt throughout the length and breadth of the land, anarchy and misrule, degradation and misery, corruption and darkness will reign without mitigation or end.”
Noah Webster (1758-1843), known as the Father of American Education, also once said, “No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people. All the miseries and evils which men suffer from—vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery and war—proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.”
In Mark 7:20-23, Jesus outlined that murder—like all sin—begins in the heart, and that all men are born with sinful natures and wicked hearts. It is why He declared that men must be born again (John 3:3) and have their very nature changed, or they cannot see the Kingdom of God.
“That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man,” Jesus said. “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.”