FFRF drives away Texas ‘police chaplain’ (Dec. 6, 2012)

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has held the Cedar Park Police Department accountable for having an unlawful Latin cross on the police seal and badge. The organization also took issue with the city’s “Police Chaplain,” especially since he drove a vehicle with a police seal and the words “Chaplain, City of Cedar Park.”

FFRF Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel wrote to Mayor Matt Powell and the Cedar Park Council on July 5, 2012, urging them to remove the cross from all official city paraphernalia. “The display of a Christian cross on a police chaplain’s seal violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. . . City Chaplains serve the entire police force and city employees, Christian and non-Christian alike. By displaying a Christian cross on the chaplain’s seal, the city alienates adherents to religions other than Christianity. . .”

Seidel pointed out that FFRF also questions the appropriateness of a chaplain program altogether. “Not only are city chaplains inappropriate, they are unnecessary because unlike prisons or the military, the government is not burdening anyone’s religious practice.”

In a Dec. 6 phone call with the city attorney, Seidel learned that the police badges, cars and shirts will no longer feature a Latin cross by the end of January.

Freedom From Religion Foundation