Texas Governor Greg Abbott has backed the decision of the Brewster County Sheriff’s department to allow deputies to place the outline of a cross on the rear window of their patrol vehicles.
The cross decals were allowed by Brewster County, a county located in West Texas, Sheriff Ronny Dodson but the decision has not been met with the approval of everyone.
Sam Grover, the attorney of a group called the Freedom from Religion Foundation, released a statement on behalf of the organization saying that the display of the cross is “inappropriate” for a government entity and “unconstitutional”.
According to Grover the foundation is calling upon the Brewster County Sheriff’s Department to reverse the decision and have the outline of the crosses removed from police vehicles. According to the group, by having the decal displayed on the vehicles it leaves a message that Brewster County and the Sheriff’s Office are showing preference to Christianity over other faiths and non-religion.
In light of the situation, Rod Ponton, the District Attorney over Braxton County, asked Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton for a legal opinion on the matter on behalf of the Sherif’s Department, specifically inquiring if having the cross displayed on a deputy’s vehicle is a violation of the First Amendment. He added that the Brewster County Sheriff’s Department responds to all issues and citizens regardless of religious belief.
Ken Paxton has still not made a statement on the issue, which Ronny Dodson says he will comply with no matter the outcome, but that has not stopped the man formerly in Paxton’s position, Governor Greg Abbott, from speaking out on the issue.
Through a statement released by spokesman John Wittman, the governor support the cross decals on the vehicles stating that the constitution demands for people to respect religious expression and that the constitution does not call for hostility toward religion.
This is not the first time Governor Abbott has been involved with issues like this. He also supported the Childress Police Department when they chose to display “In God We Trust” on their deputy patrol vehicles.
In the Childress Police Department case, Attorney General Paxton agreed with Governor Abbot, saying that “In God We Trust” decals on vehicles was legal.
Law Officer is the only major law enforcement publication and website owned and operated by law enforcement. This unique facet makes Law Officer much more than just a publishing company but is a true advocate for the profession.