The Freedom From Religion Foundation is coming after a Texas sheriff for citing a New Testament Bible verse after a recent memo to his department.
The legal threat comes in the aftermath of a school massacre, but the notorious group of atheists decided that a nation dealing with grief and a sheriff's call to protect students weren't as important as shutting down a public mention of the Bible.
Denton County Sheriff Tracy Murphree was challenging his forces to confront active shooters after Florida deputies failed to fight the Parkland shooter.
His memo, which was printed on the sheriff's office's stationary, was also posted recently on Facebook. It read:
"With the recent tragedy in Florida, I wanted to make clear my policy on responding to an active shooter. All commissioned Deputies if you respond to an active shooter you are expected to take immediate action. We do not stage and wait for SWAT. We do not take cover in a parking lot, and we do not wait for another agency. We go in and do our duty. We go in to engage and stop the shooter and save lives. If for any reason you feel you cannot follow this directive please inform your supervisor and we will work on getting you reassigned. Thank you all for all you do every day."
The sheriff signed the memo and below his contact information, he included Romans 13:4.
"For he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid,
For he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God,
An avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer."
In the letter to Sheriff Murphree, FFRF attorney Andrew L. Seidel tells the sheriff they were contacted by a concerned local resident and that the use of the Bible verse on an office memorandum is a "violation to the U.S. Constitution and is a gross misrepresentation of the role of American law enforcement."
Although the FFRF agrees with the Murphree's message about responding to an active shooter, they threaten the sheriff that "even simply posting this Bible verse on social media as he did on Facebook, jeopardizes taxpayer dollars."
The letter cites a recent court case in which the American Atheists organization sued the sheriff's office in Bradley County, Tennessee. The Tennessee sheriff agreed to pay $40,000 in damages and attorneys fees after promoting religion on social media and ignoring the atheist group's objections.
In the letter, FFRF attorney Seidel tells the sheriff, "There is no need to expose your office to similar liability by allowing this religious content to remain up." In addition, the group demands the removal of the memo from social media and anywhere else it may appear, including department memos, logos, badges, vehicles, and letterhead.
So far, Sheriff Murphree has not publicly responded to the atheist group. CBN News also reached out the sheriff for comment but has not heard back.
The sheriff has used social media to discuss the recent shooting at the Marjorie Stoneman Douglass High School in Parkland, Florida. In a Facebook post on Feb. 23, Murphree wrote that "Before Columbine, training was to take cover and wait for tactical units. This plan failed miserably at Columbine. Post Columbine we were all trained to immediately go in and do whatever is necessary to stop the suspect. You arrive you go in you confront and you eliminate the threat."
"While teachers unarmed stood between students and death these 'officers' did nothing. Children were dying and nothing," he continued. "His wasn't a gun issue it's not a 2nd amendment issue it's a failure of Law Enforcement from the FBI to the Sheriff's office. The laws and procedures were in place. Looks to me like they were simply ignored and cowards were sent to help these kids."