On October 28, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter to Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey requesting that he remove recently applied “In God We Trust” decals from the back of their patrol vehicles.
Sheriff Ivey outright rejected the atheistic group’s demands saying, “They have a better chance of me waking up thin tomorrow morning than they do of me taking that motto off our cars!”
The FFRF released a statement just after the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office in Florida posted an announcement on Facebook detailing their plans to incorporate the decals on new patrol vehicles that will be rolling out over the next couple of years.
“I personally believe that our country is at a tipping point,” Sheriff Ivey said, “and if we, as strong patriotic Americans, don’t stand for the principals of our great nation, we are going to lose the America we all know and love!”
He also added that he can assure the public “that the proud men and women of our agency are forever unwavering in our support of the constitution and the principles of our amazing country.”
Co-president of FFRF, Annie Laurie Gaylor vehemently disagrees with the decision made by Ivey and the Brevard County Sheriff’s Department in regard to the “controversial” decals. “Spending taxpayer time placing religious messages on patrol cars is beyond the scope of secular government,” she wrote in her statement.
“In a time when citizens nationwide are increasingly distrustful of law enforcement officers’ actions,” she continued, “it is frightening and politically dubious for the local police department to announce to citizens that officers rely on the judgment of a deity rather than on the judgment of the law.”
David Williamson, who is the director of the FFRF’s Florida chapter also weighed in on the matter. “Law enforcement officers take an oath to protect and serve all citizens. Displaying a preference for religion so clearly right on county property is a betrayal of that oath.”
First Liberty, a legal group that defends all cases of religious liberty says that Ivey has the law on his side. Councilwoman for First Liberty, Keisha Russell stated that adding the decal of the country’s motto “should be honored and celebrated as an expression of what it means to be American.”
Jeremy Dys, another council member of First Liberty, further added that “[The FFRF’s] attempt to scold a public servant for acknowledging one of the most cherished traditions of our country is shameful.”