FFRF chews out County over prayer breakfast (July 10, 2014)

Putnam County in Carmel, N.Y., will no longer use county e-mail to promote prayer breakfasts.

The unlawful e-mail, sent by the director of personnel in the fall of 2013, invited county personnel to attend the 22nd Annual Putnam County Leadership Prayer Breakfast. The e-mail also included a Christian invocation: “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselvese [sic], and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive them, and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14.”

FFRF Senior Staff Attorney Rebecca Markert wrote a letter to Putnam County  on March 17, highlighting the unconstitutionality of government endorsed religious events. She called it “grossly illegal and inappropriate for the Director of Personnel to be promoting a patently religious event, such as a prayer breakfast.”

 Markert added, “In addition, it is grossly inappropriate to include religious references in any email directed at local government employees.”

After May 29 and June 30 follow up letters, counsel for Putnam County responded on July 10 that, “The individual who sent the e-mail in question regarding the Prayer Breakfast event has been advised not to send such notices by County e-mail in the future.”

Freedom From Religion Foundation