Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Montgomery, AL atheists: 'training pastors with tax­payers’ dollars and bringing them to crime scenes to preach Christianity is a 'blatant violation of separation of religion and government.'

Below is the letter and here is the story:

October 7, 2013

Hon. Todd Strange
Mayor, City of Montgomery Alabama
Room 206, City Hall
103 North Perry Street
Montgomery, Alabama 36104

Chief Kevin Murphy
Chief of Police
320 N. Ripley St.
Montgomery, AL 36104

In re: Notice of Constitutional Violation.

Dear Mayor Strange and Chief Murphy,

I am the President of American Atheists, Inc., and I write in a sincere attempt to avoid litigation directed against you and against the state of Alabama.

American Atheists is a nationwide organization, with Headquarters in New Jersey, whose mission is to protect the rights of atheists and others who do not have a belief in any god or gods.  We have members and groups throughout the United States, including Alabama.

Our organization has received complaints from a number of residents and taxpayers in Alabama who object strongly to “Operation Good Shepard” whereby public funds and public employees are to be used to promote the Christian religion in an attempt to reduce crime in the State of Alabama.

As salutatory as the ends sought may be, any plan by public officials to engage in a scheme to promote Christianity using public funds and public officials is blatantly and facially unconstitutional under the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…”

On behalf of the Alabama members of our organization, I respectfully request that this and any other attempts to further the Christian religion, or any other religion, by state actors be terminated immediately.

If this is not done forthwith, we have powerful remedies available.  These include the possible filing of a Federal lawsuit under 42 USC 1983, et seq., alleging that you, together with others, have conspired to break the law and to violate the U.S. Constitution.  If we are forced to file a lawsuit, in addition to our First Amendment claims, we would allege that atheists, and other non-believers, are being denied their Constitutional rights under the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to “the equal protection of the laws,” in that only the Christian religion is offered as a cure for crime in your state.  The ethical teachings of other religions and of atheist thinkers will be ignored.

We respectfully request and demand that either Christian evangelism by state actors cease, or, alternatively, that atheists be permitted to participate in programs dedicated to helping stop crime on the same basis granted to religion.

It is our sincere desire to avoid costly litigation that you will almost certainly lose, in that the United States Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the type of conduct of which we write is unlawful.  We respectfully ask that you not cause your state to incur the rather large monetary loss that will result from court ordered payment of damages and attorney fees.

We will withhold further action for ten days from the date of this letter.  Thank you for your attention to this request.


David Silverman
American Atheists, Inc.

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