The Freedom From Religion Foundation is asking a U.S. senator to cease sermonizing on his official social media accounts.
A concerned Louisiana resident contacted FFRF to report that every Sunday, bible verses are posted to Sen. Bill Cassidy’s official government Facebook page.
When a government official uses his elected office, including governmental platforms such as an official Facebook page, to promote his personal religious beliefs, he violates the spirit of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, FFRF emphasizes to Cassidy.
“The First Amendment prohibits government sponsorship of religious messages,” FFRF Co-Presidents Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor write to Cassidy. “The Supreme Court has long held that the Establishment Clause ‘mandates government neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion.’ Your office violates this constitutional mandate when it proselytizes the Christian faith to all constituents, such as directing them to ‘Trust in the LORD.’”
And FFRF reminds the senator that he represents a diverse population that consists of not only Christians, but also minority religious and nonreligious citizens. Religious endorsements made in his official capacity send a message that excludes the 35 percent of Americans who are not Christian, including the 26 percent who identify as nonreligious. These messages needlessly alienate the non-Christian and nonreligious citizens he represents, turning them into political outsiders in their own community.
The Supreme Court recently described the power of social media sites as “the principal sources for knowing current events, checking ads for employment, speaking and listening in the modern public square, and otherwise exploring the vast realms of human thought and knowledge,” FFRF informs Cassidy. Government officials and entities must be particularly diligent not to entangle religious messages with official government pronouncements made in this important modern medium. In his private capacity, Cassidy can, of course, freely express his religious views as much as he likes, however he likes.
FFRF is asking that Cassidy remove all religious posts from his official government Facebook page and avoid making similar posts in the future.
“Cassidy is imposing his biblical message on a society that’s becoming increasingly diverse, even in the Deep South,” adds Gaylor. “He’s out of step with the personal views of many of his constituents.”
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with over 32,000 members across the country, including many members in Louisiana. Our purposes are to protect the constitutional principle of separation between state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.