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FFRF asks Florida congressman to end religious propaganda

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is asking U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller of Florida to stop using taxpayer money for religious indoctrination.

Miller's office issues an official weekly "Miller Newsletter" that often explicitly promotes his Christian faith.

"Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of Christ and for giving thanks to God Almighty for sending his Son to save us," reads a newsletter from last December, for example. "In Luke 2:10-11, the shepherds learned

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is asking U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller of Florida to stop using taxpayer money for religious indoctrination.

Miller's office issues an official weekly "Miller Newsletter" that often explicitly promotes his Christian faith.

"Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of Christ and for giving thanks to God Almighty for sending his Son to save us," reads a newsletter from last December, for example. "In Luke 2:10-11, the shepherds learned of the birth of Jesus, when the Angel said to them 'Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.'" 

In addition, Miller's newsletter often makes erroneous claims about the separation of state and church, stating, for instance: "It was not the intent of the Founders' to keep God out of the government, but to keep the government out of the church." 

FFRF is calling on Rep. Jeff Miller to refrain from disseminating his religious perspective in a newsletter paid for with public money.

Government officials may not use their government office or resources to further their religion, FFRF asserts. Miller's active mention of his religious views unabashedly boosts Christianity to the detriment of the approximately 30 percent of the U.S. population that follows some other faith or no faith at all.

"The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that public officials acting in their official capacities or using government resources may not seek to advance or promote their personal religion," FFRF Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel writes to Miller. "The Establishment Clause in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits government sponsorship of religious messages. Endorsing and promoting Christianity in your official capacity sends the message that you, as a U.S. representative, endorse the Christian faith." 

Plus, FFRF contends, Miller is grossly misrepresenting the views of the Founding Fathers. Thomas Jefferson spoke about "a wall of separation between church and state," while James Madison noted in an 1822 letter that "religion and government will both exist in greater purity the less they are mixed together."

"Public officials should not use the public time and dime to proselytize constituents," says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a nontheistic organization with affiliates all over the country and 23,000 members nationally, including 1,200 in Florida and a chapter in the state, the Central Florida Freethought Community.

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