Legislator steps over line with Christmas video

Imagine a Muslim state legislator sending out over his official state email a Muslim message to constituents, that not only presumes his viewers share his beliefs, but which invites non-Muslim viewers to convert to his religion.

Imagine, too, that this video has been recorded using a backdrop of the state Capitol, using state equipment and studio time. His message says, in part: “Merry Ramadan. To me and my fellow Muslims, celebrating the season of Ramadan, well, it is one of the most important celebrations of the year. For those who may watch this who are not Muslims, I invite you to consider the hope offered by Muhammad.”

Then this legislative video cites Koranic passages that indicate you may be destroyed if you don’t believe, but if you believe you may be saved.

Now, imagine the uproar.

We don’t have to imagine a Christian legislator making such a state-supported pitch to his religion — because this is precisely what Wisconsin State Rep. Scott Allen, R-Waukesha, has done. “For those who may watch who are not Christian, I invite you to consider the hope offered by the prince of peace,” he states in the video.

FFRF complained to Assembly Speaker Robin Vos about this egregious misuse of the machinery of the state — not only to promulgate a legislator’s personal beliefs, but to divisively attempt to convert constituents of minority or no religious beliefs.

Vos claims it’s making a “mountain out of a molehill.” But we know if the case involved a Muslim legislator, a Wiccan or an atheist legislator going overboard, Christian legislators and their constituents would be crying foul.

It’s so simple. The government may not take sides on matters of religion. Our government is supposed to be neutral, and leave the practice of religion to private citizens. There is no country where religion flourishes more, and that is because of our First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, which, as Jefferson noted, erects “a wall of separation between church and state.”

Freedom From Religion Foundation