This is so dumb.
According to this, police officers in Montgomery County, Virginia, are no longer allowed to have a decal that says “Blessed are the peacemakers… Matthew 5:9” on the backs of their police vehicles. The decals were initially placed as a way to honor the work that the officers do in their community.
But because it has a dreaded reference to the Bible – OH NO, SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE! WHATEVER SHALL WE DOOOOO???? – the county board of supervisors told the county sheriff that the decals had to be removed –
“Our intent was, and still is, to honor our fellow brothers and sisters in law enforcement,” Sheriff C.H. Partin wrote in a statement to Fox News.
The sheriff said the decals were removed at the request of the county’s board of supervisors.
“In the midst of National Police Week, we want to focus on those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving their communities,” the sheriff said. “The last thing that I want is for this to become a distraction to the men and women who serve their communities selflessly every day.”
The dumb thing about this? The supervisors said that the “Blessed are the peacemakers” part of the decal was fine. It was the “Matthew 5:9” bit that they got heartburn over. Because… citing the source of the quote is awful and terrible if people know you actually read the scriptures?
“In my mind, there’s nothing wrong with the statement itself,” supervisor Chris Tuck told me. “Any individual can put that on your car however they would like. However, based on our legal advice, when you put, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers’ and make the reference to Matthew 5:9, there are some serious concerns about the Establishment Clause and Separation of Church and State and the First Amendment.”
Mr. Tuck tells me the board made its decision after first consulting with their attorney.
Dear Mr. Tuck: Get better attorneys. The ones you have suck.
Boy, I’m sure glad that the biggest problem Montgomery County has to worry about is whether or not the public is exposed to a Bible reference. What? Are they worried that some criminal evil-doer is going to spontaneously combust if they lay eyes on the dreaded configuration of a book from the New Testament alongside numbers representing a chapter and verse from said book?
(Actually – that would probably save local taxpayers a lot of money.)
Now, if the police department cited a verse from the Koran on their vehicles, they’d probably be hailed as great champion of diversity and tolerance. But the words of Jesus Christ? Nope. Too offensive. Take ’em down.