Atheist Group Demands Sheriff Stop Invoking Prayer, But He Refuses To ‘Cower Down’

After a devastating tragedy left a 14-year-old Alabama child battling for his life, the Walker County Sheriff’s Office published an update and implored locals to join in prayer for the youngster. One of the sheriff’s officers in a car and the child on a four-wheeler were involved in the collision.

As expected, almost every comment sent prayers or condolences, since the tragedy was still the main topic of the post. But it was not long before an anti-religion group became aware of the appeal.

As many of you know, one of our Sheriff’s deputies was involved in a vehicle accident involving a 14 year old boy on a…

Posted by Walker County Sheriff's Office on Sunday, 4 August 2019

The post was brought to the notice of the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), which identifies itself as an “atheist, agnostic, and skeptic watchdog” The organization submitted an informal cease-and-desist letter to the sheriff’s office.

Since Grover is likely aware that there are no legal grounds for action against the sheriff’s department, he neither mentions a specific statute nor threatens a lawsuit, both of which are common in FFRF letters. Luckily, the sheriff’s office is also aware of this.

Public information officer T.J. Armstrong, representing the Walker County Sheriff’s Office, said that the agency was “astonished” by the letter’s demands. Armstrong, though, provided a clear response in a statement conveying Sheriff Nick Smith’s conclusion on the situation.

Since the FFRF assault, Sheriff Smith and his fellow police officers have received enormous community support. Yet, the sheriff’s office insists that it is not attempting to provoke a spectacle by refusing to back down.

We consider it a great honor to be considered and to have received a wonderful letter from the “Freedom From Religion”…

Posted by TJ Armstrong on Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Obviously, the FFRF did not get the reception they had anticipated. But Grover and his group concede that they will not file a lawsuit or legal challenge at this time.

Grover and the FFRF have not responded to the department’s decision to decline their requests. They hope, however, that by exerting constant pressure on people and organizations such as the sheriff’s office, they will abstain from employing such religious language.

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