For Immediate Release
Merrill Miller, 202-238-9088 ext. 105, firstname.lastname@example.org
David Niose, 202-238-9088 ext. 119, email@example.com
Monica Miller, 202-238-9088 ext. 120, firstname.lastname@example.org
(Washington, D.C., Oct. 6, 2014)—Today the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center sent a letter on behalf of a concerned citizen to Humphreys County officials in Waverly, Tennessee in regards to a seal featuring a Christian cross and the word “Christ” adopted by the Humphreys County Sheriff’s Office.
According to the letter, the seal violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment by promoting religion over non-religion and Christianity in particular. The seal prominently displays the word “Christ” and a Christian cross at its center. An image of the seal can be viewed above.
“The cross is the preeminent symbol of Christianity, and the display of it on an official, law enforcement seal sends the unequivocal message that the government is promoting religion,” said Monica Miller, an attorney with the Appignani Humanist Legal Center. “The seal also sends the message that non-Christians such as atheists and humanists are outsiders, not welcome in their own community,” she added.
“Promotion of Christianity by a sheriff’s office marginalizes individuals of minority religions and with no religion,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “Doing so can coerce non-Christians into conforming to the approved religion of law enforcement.”
The letter demands that the Humphreys County Sherriff’s Office eliminate all religious references from the seal.
A copy of the letter can be viewed here.
Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., the American Humanist Association (AHA) works to protect the rights of humanists, atheists, and other non-religious Americans. The AHA advances the ethical and life-affirming philosophy of humanism, which—without beliefs in any gods or other supernatural forces—encourages individuals to live informed and meaningful lives that aspire to the greater good of humanity.
Special thanks to the Louis J. Appignani Foundation for their support of the Appignani Humanist Legal Center.