You may have seen recent viral videos of police departments around the country performing lip sync music videos to pop hits. Usually, after the faux music video is complete, the local department will challenge another police department to make their own. It’s mostly pretty harmless fun.
Now, though, a police department is Texas is facing a controversy for their video, which instead of a pop song, features the Newsboys singing “God’s Not Dead.” The video also shows various references to faith including “In God We Trust” stickers, a “For God’s Glory sign” and Bible reading.
In response, the Freedom From Religion Foundation has released a statement complaining that the video violates the Constitution. In a complaint to the Crandall Police department, FFRF Associate Counsel Sam Grover said, “The Supreme Court has long held that the Establishment Clause ‘mandates government neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion,’ The Crandall Police Department’s video conveys a message to non-Christians that they are not ‘favored members of the community.’”
The statement went on saying:
Government employees can worship, pray, or read any religious text they wish when acting in their personal capacities. But they are not permitted to provide prestige to their personal religion through the machinery of a government office. The police department belongs to ‘We the people,’ not the department’s temporary occupants … Not long ago the sheriff’s office in Bradley County, Tenn., agreed to pay more than $40,000 in damages and attorneys’ fees after promoting religion on social media and ignoring objections to the practice.
They’ve requested that the video be taken down.
However, for now, Police Chief Dean Winters seems dismissive of the concerns. From The Christian Post: “When asked for his response to the FFRF’s request that the video be removed, Winters simply commented with a symbol: a colon and parenthesis that formed a smiley face.”