FFRF turns off Ariz. agency’s religious training video (Dec. 3, 2014)

The Arizona Department of Economic Security has discontinued use of a religious training video thanks to the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

A mandatory meeting for some DES employees included a video featuring a comedian who talked about dying briefly and meeting God, who told her people who work at DES are “angels with big white wings.” The video included a prayer.

Staff Attorney Sam Grover wrote the department a letter on Nov. 17, 2014, asking the DES to refrain from using the video in future trainings. “As a government entity, DES has a constitutional obligation to remain neutral toward religion,” reminded Grover. “Federal courts have held that mandatory meetings for government employees cannot be used to promote religion in violation of the Establishment Clause.”

DES Training and Development Administrator Adele Cook wrote to FFRF on Dec. 3 to say that the units that were still using the video as part of their training programs would immediately discontinue doing so, and “all agency training units will be directed not to use the video in the future.”

Freedom From Religion Foundation