- The Washington Times - Monday, June 30, 2014

A sheriff in Louisiana said he couldn’t care less what the American Civil Liberties Union says about his planned public prayer event — it’s going forward, lawsuit or no lawsuit.

“Not only am I elected to serve the people of Bossier Parish, but I live here and my family lives here,” Sheriff Julian Whittington told The Shreveport Times, of his upcoming food, music and prayer rally for the Fourth of July.

“I think Bossier Parish is a better place with Christianity and Christian values involved in it. I am an elected official. I’m also a citizen here. I think this is what’s best for us. I don’t work for anybody in Washington. What they do, what they say, I couldn’t really care less.”

The event is the locality’s second annual “In God We Trust” rally, and it uses in part public money. But it’s being held on church property — and that has ACLU executive director Marjorie Esman up in arms, Newsmax reported.

“If the event is held on sheriff’s property, then by definition it is a public event that sends a message of government endorsement of Christianity,” Ms. Esman told The Shreveport Times.

“The building is paid for by public funds, and maintained by public funds. If the religious messages are overtly Christian and suggest that Christianity is better than other religions, and if there is a link to public funding or support, this would overstep the law. In any event, it sends a message to Bossier residents who do not adhere to Christianity that they are less than equal and not worthy of support by their sheriff.”

The ACLU also objects to the advertisement for the event that bills offerings as “patriotic and God-lifting music,” Ms. Esman said, Newsmax reported.

Gov. Bobby Jindal attended last year’s festival.



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