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A Texas Police Department Is Responding to Attacks on Cops With a Four-Word Declaration That Is Riling Up Atheists

Faith

"It's time we get back to where we once were."

A Texas police department is catching heat from atheist activists after a sheriff responded to recent acts of violence against cops with a simple gesture: the placement of "In God We Trust" stickers on every patrol car.

The decision by the Childress Police Department in Childress, Texas, has a spawned a great deal of support — and some frustrations, with Police Chief Adrian Garcia explaining that he made the decision to add the decals following recent attacks on cops across America.

"I think with all the assaults happening on officers across the country ... it's time we get back to where we once were," Garcia said in an interview with the Red River Sun.

The sheriff took to the department's official Facebook page on September 2 to share a photo of a patrol car along with the following message: "Please excuse the dirty unit. I had to share this with the public. Notice what I will be putting on all Childress Police patrol units."

A screen shot from Facebook

There were a variety of reactions when the decal announcement was made, with atheists pushing back, according to the Amarillo Globe-News.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, an atheist activist group, has already sent letters to police departments across America, warning about the decals and decrying the "In God We Trust" message as an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.

And now Childress is poised to also receive a warning.

"We haven’t sent an official letter of complaint yet, but that is on our docket and we are planning to send something," Rebecca Markert, senior staff attorney with the group, said in an interview with the Globe-News. "It is definitely showing a government endorsement of religion over non-religion, which is a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment."

Dan Barker, co-president of the atheist group, told TheBlaze last month that the Freedom From Religion Foundation "would love to sue over a case" involving the "In God We Trust" decals.

“We can’t predict what we’ll do next,” he said, speaking of a separate case in Walton County, Florida. “Even if we wanted to sue we have to have a plaintiff there who’s willing to sign on.”

So far, challenges to “In God We Trust” on currency have been unsuccessful, but Barker believes that the police patrol car issue could reignite the debate and give atheists another chance to question the legitimacy and constitutionality of including the line on public property.

Read more about the debate — and at least one defiant response to atheists from a Florida sheriff — here.

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