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Virginia sheriff to end religious endorsement (June 22, 2022)

The Scott County Sheriff’s Office in Virginia will no longer post religious messages on its social media pages or host churches after a concerned county resident reported that the Sheriff’s Office hosted a religious Easter event, “Eggs-stravaganza 2022,” with Calvary Bible Church on April 9.

A post by the Calvary Bible Church on its Facebook page showed that the event was planned by the Sheriff’s Office and included “shar[ing] the gospel with . . . kids.” On Easter, the Sheriff’s Office also posted an image of a cross with the words “He Has Risen!” on its official Facebook page.

“The Scott County Sheriff’s Office’s explicit endorsement of religion is a serious constitutional violation,” wrote FFRF Legal Fellow Karen Heineman to Sheriff Jeff Edds. The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment prohibits the government from hosting or endorsing religious events or activities.

Edds responded to FFRF’s letter to say that he will be taking precautionary steps to prevent any future occurrences.