It Pays to Complain: January 2014

A California FFRF member was successful in getting a state Department of Public Health official in Sacramento to remove a religious statement from her email signature. After the employee’s information such as title, address and phone number, her official emails ended with: “What you have made a matter of Prayer, should cease to be a matter of care!!!”

Pamela Koslyn, a Life Member, wrote the employee: “As I’m sure you know, not everyone believes in prayer, and as I’d expect you to know, the CDPH cannot endorse prayer. I think this is an inappropriate use of state resources, since your email speaks for the state, and by my reading of the California Constitution’s ‘No Preference,’ ‘No Establishment’ and ‘No Aid’ clauses, you’re forbidden from doing any act that proselytizes for and prefers any particular sect without a secular purpose. Since there’s no secular purpose to prayer, I believe it also forbids proselytizing for  prayer. You’re of course free to include whatever you’d like on your private emails and in your private conversations.”

Koslyn followed up the next day with another email that asked the employee to “Please respond promptly in writing about what steps you are taking to respect the Establishment Clause and remedy this constitutional violation.”

That same day, Dec. 24, Koslyn received an email from the employee’s direct manager: “I would like to let you know that your e-mail was brought to my attention by [the employee]. The language on her e-mail account has been removed.”

Freedom From Religion Foundation