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Lawyer Wants Religious Post Off Sheriff's Website

Lawyer Wants Religious Post Off Sheriff's Website

The Weber County Sheriff's Office Facebook Page

Associated Press

January 14, 2011

WEBER COUNTY, UT – A Utah civil rights attorney says a religion-laced post on the Weber County sheriff’s office Facebook page violates state and federal laws separating church and state.

In a letter sent Wednesday, Salt Lake City-based attorney Brian Barnard asks Weber County Sheriff Terry Thompson to remove the post from the social networking site.

The letter to employees and staff states they are engaged in “meaningful service to God and country” and encourages them to let God carry their burdens.

“Always know that God, in whatever from you picture Him, recognizes our sacrifice and service, understands our imperfections and blesses us,” Thompson’s letter states.

Thompson also tells employees about his attempt to become involved the Utah firing squad execution of a convicted killer some years ago. He said he would have been comfortable participating because he believes the death penalty is morally sound, comparing it to a soldier taking the lives of others during battle or to citizens who take another’s life to protect their own safety or the safety of others.

“It is OK because God is okay with it!” Thompson wrote.

Barnard’s letter to Thompson, which was provided to The Associated Press, contends the sheriff’s words promote an improper endorsement of religion in the workplace. Barnard said Weber County’s own policies prohibit the discussion of religion at work, particularly by supervisors.

Late Wednesday, Thompson told The Associated Press the letter had been removed from Facebook, but said he didn’t believe he had done anything wrong.

“I disagree with the opinions of Mr. Barnard and the Utah Civil Rights and Liberties Foundation,” said Thompson, calling Barnard’s views extremist. “I don’t believe it’s a violation. I would at the very least recommend that he read the nation’s motto, ‘In God We Trust.’ ”

Thompson said the letter was meant only to bolster employee morale, not to promote any specific religion or religious point of view. He said it was employees who had encouraged him to post the letter for a wider audience.

“I just believe that far and wide the average American would look at [the letter] and agree with it,” he said.

Barnard said he was contacted last week by a sheriff’s office employee who was bothered by the letter, which was sent to staff in a Jan. 3 e-mail. A date stamp on Facebook shows the letter was posted Jan. 4.

“Government shouldn’t be involved in religion, and here we have a government official using government resources, expressing his religious beliefs and making pronouncement that appear to be officials pronouncements of the sheriff’s office,” Barnard said.

Barnard said the letter may leave staff who don’t share Thompson’s beliefs uncomfortable.

“It’s not [Thompson’s] role as elected official to make those kinds of pronouncements,” he said. “Subordinates clearly can’t respond or would not feel comfortable responding or being in disagreement.”

Neither Thompson nor the county’s attorney, who also received a copy of the demand letter, had contacted Barnard by Wednesday afternoon. Barnard also said he was considering filing a lawsuit against the county.

“That’s OK,” Thompson said. “People can sue for any reason they want.”

  • Wolf_001_max50


    about 3 years ago


    Good Grief ! I would feel fortunate to work for this Sheriff. This Lawyer is just trying to get into the spotlight.
    I saw no promotion of religion just someone who believes in a higher power. It is not wrong to encourage and reassure your staff that they are looked after. GET A LIFE LAWYER!

  • Me_5_max50


    about 3 years ago


    When you remove God from this country, this country no longer exists! And in a democracy, the MAJORITY rules! Obviously many of the civil liberty tree huggers forgot about the evolution and history of this country! I don't see the ACLU suing the California school boards allowing Muslim students to pray and worship while in school even going so far as to segregate them in seperate rooms to conduct their prayers! Hmmmmm! Now that is something they should be really investigating and pissed off about but NOOOOOOOOOOOOO! They don't want to offend the followers of Islam but will expeditiously malign the founding fathers religious beliefs of this country! What the hell is wrong with this great country of ours?

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 3 years ago

    Wow but why even put some of those statements on a Social Networking site? I think we have all sat back and said, "Damn dude (to the guy who put pics on his and got fired) as Police we cant be doing that stuff." Why would he even be putting comments like "I'm activily trying to get on the firing squad." The less said the better ya know? Or I might just be in the mentality that mainstream administration in my dept. has worked hard to beat me down to. Just shut up, drop your head, and do your job. Catch 22. Post your feelings, suffer consequences. Dont post your feelings, feel conflicted about it.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 3 years ago

    BUMP BigNTS, BUMP LAWMANTUKES, BUMP Rambo 911!!!!!! and when I'm riding during my internship my Bible will be riding in my side pocket.

    Tell the jerk attorney to get off the website

  • Tbilisi_police_max50


    about 3 years ago


    the lawyer is more like one of those who is trying to make a name for himself and gain a little cash in the pocket. nothing but bottom feeders.

  • Derrick_max50


    about 3 years ago


    When those who serve the public swear in it's with the Bible in front of them. The seperation of church and state should never have been, this country was built on GODLY principle and as the government continue to seperate the two all their doing is taking GOD away from the people, it's no wonder why society is the way it is. It use to be IN GOD WE TRUST. Who civil rights been violated because of the post, no one. That attorney needs to know that it's a civil right violation that he is doing to those who believe in GOD and by the Constitution freedom of religion should not be violated. Stand up my brothers and sisters who believe in GOD and continue doing the GREAT JOB you all do, GOD BLESS YOU ALL.

  • Dre_logo_2_max50


    about 3 years ago


    A lawyer like this one is nothing more then a college educated criminal!!!

  • Pic-0246_max50


    about 3 years ago


    this lawyer is definitely a tool. and now he's thinking of fliling a lawsuit? why do i have a feeling that this is all this lawyer does? probably never concerns himself with real legal work

  • 12235_sq90_max50


    about 3 years ago


    Lawyers what can you do with them.

  • Cpu_2010_max50


    about 3 years ago


    What an idiot. We all pray to GOD to take care of us and our family while we are at work. Our job carries a spirtial aspect due to how we as a group funtion and get through the day. This lawyer has way to much time and way to little sense. Karma is a bitch.

  • Wolfspirit_max50


    about 3 years ago


    Bump RAMBO_911 "In GOD We Trust"

  • Wolfspirit_max50


    about 3 years ago


    Bump BigNTS, Bump LAWMANTUKES, Never take God out of your life....

  • America_20pride_max50


    about 3 years ago


    Give me break people lawyer need to get a live.

  • Police_car_max50


    about 3 years ago


    Doesn't this lawyer have better things to do, like clients to represent ? The letter has been removed from Facebook. If there any employees that have problems with it, that is a personnel matter that should be handled internally. The lawyer needs to get a life and move on! It's none of his business.

  • Imagesca4xarl3gatekeeper911_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Right on Art!,,,,, Big Bumps here!,,,, and I Agree Alexy, Let the fool know how we all feel..... The Statute guarantees that “ALL men shall be FREE to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish enlarge, or affect their civil capacities. GOD BLESS AMERICA!.... The Flames of Hell are going to Welcome Mr.Barnhard.... IN GOD WE TRUST!

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