A rural Alabama police department that used social media to scold community members for rejecting God is coming under fire from a group that opposes mixing government and religious faith.
A statement posted on Facebook by the Opp Police Department on Tuesday blames a spike in area homicides on the idea that young people have turned away from God and “embraced Satan.” The post followed two gunshot killings in as many days in Covington County, located on the Alabama-Florida line.
But the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation says police in the town of 6,500 people are wrongly promoting religion with the social media message. The group says it’s illegal for a government entity to endorse or criticize religious belief.
Opp police didn’t immediately return a phone call Thursday seeking comment.
This was the Facebook message:
THIS PAST SUNDAY, A YOUNG MAN WAS SHOT AND KILLED IN KINSTON. MONDAY NIGHT, A MOTHER WAS SHOT AND KILLED IN NORTHERN COVINGTON COUNTY. THERE HAVE BEEN FIVE MURDERS IN COVINGTON COUNTY IN 2018. THESE MURDERS HAVE BEEN DONE BY OUR YOUNG PEOPLE. THIS IS HAPPENING BECAUSE WE HAVE TURNED AWAY FROM GOD AND EMBRACED SATAN. WE MAY HAVE NOT MEANT TO DO SO BUT, WE HAVE. IT IS TIME TO ASK FOR GOD’S HELP TO STOP THIS. IT IS TIME TO BE PARENTS AND RAISE OUR CHILDREN, NOT HAVE THEM RAISE US. IT IS TIME TO FULLY SUPPORT LAW ENFORCEMENT AND STAND BY THE OFFICERS AND DEPUTIES THAT ARE FAR TOO OFTEN HAVING TO WALK INTO THESE DANGEROUS SITUATIONS AND CLEAN UP THE MESS. FRIENDS, IT IS TIME TO STAND UP AND BE RESPONSIBLE, GROWN UP LEADERS IN OUR COMMUNITY. BOTTOM LINE, THERE ARE SHEEP; THERE ARE WOLVES AND THERE ARE SHEEP DOGS. WHICH GROUP DO YOU BELONG TO ?
Opp police appear to regularly promote Christian messages on their Facebook page.
“God bless each and all on this Monday,” one post read earlier this week, while another said: “May God bless you and protect you.”