WASHINGTON — The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) has sent a letter to U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy to request that he stop posting Scripture to his official social media accounts each week, asserting that the custom violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
“We write to request that you refrain from posting messages that proselytize or endorse religion on your official government social media accounts,” the letter, sent on Aug. 14, reads. “When a government official uses his elected office, including governmental platforms such as an official Facebook page, to promote his personal religious beliefs, he violates the spirit of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.”
Cassidy (R-La.) posts Bible verses to his congressional account every Sunday, including this past weekend when he shared John 14:27, in which Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
FFRF says that a “concerned Louisiana resident” contacted the organization to inform the atheist-led, self-described Church-State separation group of his practice. Cassidy is a Christian and reportedly attends The Chapel on the Campus, a nondenominational church that meets on the campus of Louisiana State University.
“The Supreme Court has long held that the Establishment Clause ‘mandates government neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion.’ Your office violates this constitutional mandate when it proselytizes the Christian faith to
all constituents, such as directing them to ‘Trust in the Lord,'” the letter states, referring to his post from July 26, when he shared Proverbs 3:5-6.
The correspondence also asserts that Cassidy alienates his constituents who are not Christian and treats them as “political outsiders in their own community.”
“By couching your sentiments in exclusively religious terms, and by quoting exclusively from one religion’s holy book, you unnecessarily exclude a significant portion of the community,” it reads. “Regardless of your intent, this social media post sends the message to your minority religious and nonreligious constituents that their participation in the political process is less valued than that of their Christian counterparts.”
FFRF is requesting that Cassidy delete all religious posts from his social media pages and refrain from posting from the Bible in the future.
It is not known if Cassidy plans to respond.
As previously reported, on March 23, 1798 — less than 12 years after the signing of the U.S. Constitution — John Adams, the second president of the United States, called for a day of national repentance, prayer and fasting.
“[T]he safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and the blessing of Almighty God, and the national acknowledgment of this truth is not only an indispensable duty which the people owe to Him, but a duty whose natural influence is favorable to the promotion of that morality and piety without which social happiness cannot exist nor the blessings of a free government be enjoyed,” he wrote.
James Madison, the fourth president of the United States, similarly called for a national day of prayer on July 9, 1812.
“I do therefore recommend the third Thursday in August next as a convenient day to be set apart for the devout purposes of rendering the Sovereign of the universe and the Benefactor of mankind the public homage due to His holy attributes; of acknowledging the transgressions which might justly provoke the manifestations of His divine displeasure; of seeking His merciful forgiveness and His assistance in the great duties of repentance and amendment, and especially of offering fervent supplications, that in the present season of calamity and war, He would take the American People under His peculiar care and protection.”
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.”