Freedom from Religion Foundation threatens lawsuit over MPD's "O - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

  • IS THE MONTGOMERY POLICE DEPARTMENT'S INVOLVEMENT IN "OPERATION GOOD SHEPHERD" UNCONSTITUTIONAL?

  • Thank you for participating in our poll. Here are the results so far:

    YES
    29%
    1888 votes
    NO
    65%
    4333 votes
    UNSURE
    6%
    432 votes
  • Atheist organization takes aim at MPD program

Freedom from Religion Foundation threatens lawsuit over MPD's "Operation Good Shepherd" program

Posted: Updated:
  • More newsMore>>

  • Malaysia asks world to pray for missing plane clue

    Malaysia asks world to pray for missing plane clue

    Saturday, April 19 2014 5:21 AM EDT2014-04-19 09:21:49 GMT
    The search coordination center says an underwater robotic submarine is expected to finish searching a narrowed down area of the Indian Ocean seabed for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane within the next week,...More >>
    A Malaysian official on Saturday asked the world to "pray hard" for a clue to help find Flight 370, while authorities said a robotic submarine was expected to finish searching a patch of the Indian Ocean seabed within a...More >>
  • Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

    Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

    Saturday, April 19 2014 2:45 AM EDT2014-04-19 06:45:14 GMT
    People who have accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's...More >>
    People who have accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's...More >>
  • Auburn woman shot during domestic dispute

    Auburn woman shot during domestic dispute

    Saturday, April 19 2014 12:05 AM EDT2014-04-19 04:05:44 GMT
    Auburn police say a man is facing charges for allegedly shooting a woman during a domestic dispute. Johnnie L. Forte, 59, has been charged with second degree domestic violence. Auburn police officersMore >>
    Auburn police say a man is facing charges for allegedly shooting a woman during a domestic dispute.More >>
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

The Wisconsin based Freedom From Religion Foundation is blasting the Montgomery Police Department's new "Operation Good Shepherd" program as a violation of the Constitution and is demanding the city end the program or face a lawsuit.

The organization sent a letter Wednesday to Montgomery Police Chief Kevin Murphy and Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange demanding the city end "Operation Good Shepherd", a program the atheist organization says is a publicly funded Christian ministry that seeks to lower crime by converting people to Christianity.

[DOCUMENT: Freedom From Religion Foundation letter (.pdf)]

"The MPD is deliberately taking advantage of the victims of crime or loss and using their fragile, vulnerable state to attempt to convert them," the FFRF said.

FFRF says "Operation Good Shepherd" is unconstitutional, violating the Establishment Clause's separation of church and state.

Mayor Strange refuted the organization's assertions that the city was somehow trying to convert people to a particular religion, saying he was "flabbergasted". He says "Operation Good Shepherd" is a crime fighting initiative, not a recruiting tool for religion and even welcomed the FFRF to join the cause if it will help reduce crime.

"What we are really trying to do is find the mechanism that we can get out in front of this [crime] to help victims... " the mayor said.

The program was started in June 2013 with a standing-room only crowd gathered to take part. In August, a class of 34 ministers graduated from the mandatory training class that included training on how to respond to a crime scene, how to approach victims and information on drug and gang awareness.

FFRF says Jesus will not lower crime and points to research it says indicates that the less religious a country is, the lower the violent crime and homicide rate. It also says the higher the rate of religion, the higher the rate of poverty, obesity, STDs, teen pregnancy, violent crime and homicide.

FFRF says the studies "do not prove that religion is the cause of all of society's ills, but it certainly seems like Operation Good Shepherd might be throwing gasoline on a fire."

Copyright 2013 WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow