Mounds Police Chief Defends Religious Facebook Posts
MOUNDS, Oklahoma - Posts on Facebook have the Mounds Police Chief in some hot water.
The American Civil Liberties Union said the religious nature of the posts is against the law, but Chief Antonio Porter said there's no hidden agenda, he's just trying to show some positivity in a negative world.
And even with the ACLU on his back, Porter said he has no plans to stop.
The Mounds police chief said the first thing he does each morning is read his devotional.
"Right after that, I immediately post them on Facebook and on LinkedIn," Porter said.
It's something he's been doing for about five months.
"When I started making those posts I wasn't intending really to get any feed or a bunch of likes," he said.
Porter said, overall, the reaction from his small town community has been overwhelmingly positive.
"I would hear stuff like, ‘Wow, I needed this.’ It would just hit right to their heart," he said.
On Wednesday, however, the ACLU issued a statement saying:
“Both the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and provisions of the Oklahoma Constitution protect against government officials establishing a state religion. The exclusive, pervasive promotion of the Christian faith by the Mounds Police Department represents a clear violation of those legal mandates. By promoting one specific religion on its official Facebook page, the Mounds Police Department has established clear preference for that faith above other faiths and above no religious faith at all. This kind of government interference with our religious freedom is simply not permissible under United States or Oklahoma law.
“In addition to the clear violation of one of the central tenets of American government, freedom of religion, the actions of the Mounds Police Department call into question whether or not the department can be trusted to adequately protect all those living under its jurisdiction, including members of minority faiths and those of no religious faith at all. By establishing a preference for the Christian faith, the department undermines confidence in their ability to perform their duties in a manner consistent with our understanding of one of our most basic and cherished liberties.”
But Porter said he's not promoting one religion, he's just trying to promote positivity.
"Not so much trying to pick one particular religion but just saying, ‘Hey, I'm praying for you,’" he said.
Resident Michael Arthurs said if there's any negative reaction it's mostly coming from outside of their community.
"With as much negativity, and with as much bad things that's happening across the country, he's a ray of sunshine for this community," Arthurs said.
Arthurs also pointed out that the Facebook page isn't run by the government - he said it's the town's Facebook page.