Jacksonville Police Department in Jacksonville, Ala., has removed and will no longer display religious postings on its official Facebook page. The Jackson Police Department posts included a picture reading “Happy Birthday Jesus” with an image of a nativity, a number of bible verses, a picture promoting the “National Day of Prayer for Law Enforcement,” a picture of a man carrying a “Police Officer’s Bible,” and a link to a Christian website with police officers singing a Christian song, among others.
FFRF Senior Staff Attorney Rebecca Markert contacted Jacksonville Chief of Police T.L. Thompson on Dec. 31, 2013, regarding the religious postings. In her letter, Markert elucidated, “It is inappropriate for the Jacksonville Police Department (JPD) to indicate a preference for Christianity and religion by quoting the Christian bible, posting prayers, and sharing postings asking people to pray on the official JPD Facebook page. This proselytizing message gives the appearance of government endorsement of Christianity. It also conflicts with personal religious and nonreligious views of many city residents and employees.”
After two follow up letters, Police Chief Tommy Thompson finally replied on July 2: “That post and similar ones were deleted from that account and no new posts of this nature have been posted.”