Gov. Greg Abbott, continuing his plunge into a range of religious debates, is backing the display of crosses on sheriff’s department vehicles in a West Texas county.
In this instance, Brewster County Sheriff Ronny Dodson has allowed his deputies to put the outline of a small cross on their patrol vehicles’ rear windows, according to the district attorney for the area including the county.
The sheriff’s move was criticized by the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Its attorney, Sam Grover, called it “inappropriate and unconstitutional for a government entity to display a Latin cross on its property because it conveys a preference by the Sheriff’s Office—and by extension, Brewster County—for religion over nonreligion and Christianity over all minority faiths.”
The foundation called on Dodson to “abandon his plan for the religious decals.”
District Attorney Rod Ponton in December asked Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton for his legal opinion on whether “the mere display of a cross” on a patrol vehicle “violates the First Amendment.”
The sheriff’s office “responds to all issues, calls, and citizens without regard to religion or belief,” Ponton emphasized.
Paxton earlier issued a legal opinion supporting the Childress Police Department’s display of “In God We Trust” on its patrol vehicles, saying the department would prevail in a court battle on the issue.
The governor, who had supported the “In God We Trust” motto, also backs the crosses in Brewster County, said Abbott spokesman John Wittman.
Source: San Antonio Express-News | Peggy Fikac