Texas sheriff places cross stickers on vehicles

FFRF is calling out the Brewster County Sheriff’s Office in Texas for its plan to promote Christianity on its patrol vehicles.

Sheriff Ronny Dodson announced his intention to place white crosses on all deputy vehicles.

“It is inappropriate and unconstitutional for a government entity to display a Latin cross on its property because it conveys a preference by the Sheriff’s Office — and by extension, Brewster County — for religion over nonreligion and Christianity over all minority faiths,” explained Staff Attorney Sam Grover in his complaint letter to the sheriff. “When a sheriff mandates the display of a symbol from his preferred religion on county property, not only does he unconstitutionally endorse religion, but also risks alienating the nearly 30% of Americans who are non-Christian.”

FFRF calls on Dodson to abandon his plan for the religious decals. Dodson is quoted on the sheriff office’s Facebook page as justifying the crosses because “he wanted God’s protection over his deputies.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who is proving to be no friend of the separation of state and church (see cover story), backed the sheriff’s decision.

“The Constitution demands respect for religious expression rather than hostility toward it and Governor Abbott fully supports Sheriff Dodson’s decision to allow his deputies to display the cross on their patrol vehicles,” Abbott spokesman John Wittman told MySanAntonio.com.

“We share Sheriff Dodson’s concerns for officer safety,” noted FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor, “but training, planning, and community relations efforts are far more effective than appealing to an imaginary man in the sky.”

Freedom From Religion Foundation