MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation is demanding Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey remove the religious Christmas greeting posted to her office's official Facebook and YouTube page, saying her "preaching" violates the Establishment Clause of the Constitution.
As of 3:30 p.m. Thursday, three days after its Christmas morning posting, the post had garnered approximately 800 reactions on Facebook with about a dozen responses of "Merry Christmas" in return.
A similar video message was uploaded to the governor's YouTube account. It had been viewed approximately 200 times.
FFRF said concerned citizens reached out to them regarding the governor's message, in which she says "we must never forget Christmas really celebrates on thing, the birth of Jesus Christ."
"As a government entity, the office of the governor cannot endorse religious messages," the Foundation stated. "These religious messages violate the Establishment Clause by communicating that the department and the state of Alabama prefer religion, specifically Christianity, over nonreligion and all minority faiths."
"The Supreme Court has long recognized that the First Amendment 'mandates governmental neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion,'" FFRF Director of Strategic Response Andrew Seidel went on. "When you use your office to promote exclusively religious messages, you have violated this neutrality."
"Wishing people good will and good cheer is all fine on Christmas," FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor said, "but not this overtly religious homily that the governor felt fit to send forth. She's insulting residents of the state who aren't Christian by such sectarian preachiness."
Ivey's office has not responded to requests for comment on the letter. The Facebook post and YouTube video remain active.