Wisconsin Department of Justice Issue
(MADISON, WIS.) The Freedom From Religion Foundation, which had contacted Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen this week about too much religion at an upcoming Department of Justice ceremony, has been informed that the program will be revised.
The complaint concerned the first National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims commemoration at the Capitol rotunda on Sept. 25.
The Foundation objected in a letter on Sept. 18 to the scheduling of a highly religious Christian hymn, "This Too Shall Pass," by a soloist identified as a member of a church choir, and a closing prayer by a Lutheran pastor.
In a letter dated Sept. 20, 2008, Assistant Attorney General Kevin Potter (administrator, Legal Services), stated:
"After review of this matter, the office of Crime Victim Services has revised the program to avoid any potential conflict with the U.S. and Wisconsin constitutions and applicable case law."
Foundation co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor had noted that the trauma of having a child murdered was hard enough to endure without having the state impose religion upon a diverse population of grieving parents. The Foundation also objected on behalf of state employees, who would have religion forced on them as part of official state duties.
"We are pleased with the prompt reply, and satisfied that it appears the Attorney General's Office has been responsive in recognizing that state functions should not promote religion or exclude any participants on the basis of personal convictions."