May 21, 2022

Atheist activists want Bible verses erased from sheriff’s office wall – but sheriff refuses to back down

If the Freedom from Religion Foundation thinks it can pressure Sheriff Jody Greene to clean a beloved Bible verse from his office wall, Greene tells the atheist activist group he has cruelly under- estimated his determination.

“Just look where our society is going,” Greene wrote Monday on the Columbus County, North Carolina Sheriff’s Office Facebook page. “It’s time, long overdue, to stand up. So let me be clear, I won’t give up. [sic] about my position and my Christian beliefs.”

What is the background?

FFRF representatives said “a concerned citizen” told them Greene had the verse, Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” – prominently displayed in his office in Whiteville, approximately 185 km south of downtown Raleigh. , reported the News & Observer.

Greene has “an obligation to provide all citizens with an environment free from religious endorsement by removing this exclusionary display,” the FFRF said in a Dec. 14 press release, the newspaper reported.

Additionally, the FFRF is demanding the verse be removed from the wall – and hinting at legal action if its demand is not met, the News & Observer said.

“The Columbus County Sheriff’s Office must serve all citizens equally, whether they are Christians or not,” FFRF co-chair Annie Laurie Gaylor added in the statement, the newspaper noted. “An overtly Christian message in a law enforcement division sends a message of exclusion.”

How did the sheriff respond?

In addition to telling FFRF that he will not comply with its demands, Greene also wrote on his Facebook post that the Bible verse display “was paid for with private funds, not county funds. The verse is one of my favorite Bible verses, and it felt fitting for all the adversity I had to endure. It is very motivating for me and my staff. Here at the Sheriff’s Office, we work hard in anything we do. Before executing a search warrant, or any other service that puts our people in immediate danger [sic] So, we ALWAYS go to the Lord with group prayer. ALWAYS!”

Image source: Columbus County Sheriff’s Office (North Carolina)

He added: “I was raised in the church. I have been in law enforcement for over thirty years. My training has taught me to value God, family and my country. Going back to the bible verse i have taken many pictures with this bible verse in the background with not a single problem but now that we are entering an election year it is a problem how absurd it is! seems to me that we have some sheep in the wolves [sic] Clothes. That’s all. It’s a political ploy. Some want someone they can control. Companies spend thousands of dollars on motivational courses, to come up with motivational slogans. My motivation comes from the greatest motivational speaker of all time, Jesus Christ.”

What does the FFRF say about Greene’s refusal?

Chris Line, a staff attorney for FFRF, said he was disappointed with the sheriff’s refusal to remove the Bible verse, WECT-TV reported.

“Right on the front page of the Sheriff’s Office website, it says, ‘We are committed to protecting the innocent and protecting lives and property, while always respecting the constitutional rights of others,'” he said. Line at the station.

He added to WECT that “it’s too bad the sheriff’s office doesn’t want to live up to this, and instead they choose to violate the constitutional rights of their citizens by brazenly endorsing Christianity. The office of the sheriff serves all citizens, regardless of belief or disbelief, and this display alienates all non-Christian residents of Columbus County.”

Nothing else?

Columbus County Attorney Amanda Prince would not comment to the station regarding the legality of posting Bible verses: “I can’t give you legal advice on that.”