The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter to the Indian River County Commission on November 19, citing a continuing violation of the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of religion.
Indian River County has declared November 21st through 27th Christian Heritage Week, during which the entire county is expected to celebrate its devotion to, debt to, and pride in its “Christian” heritage.
The proclamation is requested annually by the Indian River Family Association, a division of the Florida Family Association, which is, of course, part of the American Family Association. The American Family Association “exists to motivate and equip individuals to restore American culture to its moral foundations.” To do this, they attempt to “promote decency and morals in American culture” by “restrain[ing] evil by exposing the works of darkness…convinc[ing] men of sin and driv[ing] them to Christ’s grace and forgiveness.”
While claiming it stands for religious freedom, the American Family Association agenda is against marriage equality and a woman’s right to make her own reproductive decisions.
The Indian River Family Association proclaims itself to be “a pro-life Christian educational organization concentrating on issues of government, law, education and the media” and “provides action steps for those wishing to impact our culture for our Judeo-Christian values.”
Annually, the IRFA pickets businesses “that sell pornograph [sic] which is detrimental to families.” They orgianize “the local National Day of Prayer,” where they, “offer prayers to God for His grace and blessings for America.” And they hold weekly “vigils” at the Vero Beach Planned Parenthood clinic.
Government representatives have no business siding with such political, religious groups on behalf of their constituents. And yet, local governments all over the country are sent requests by these family associations for Christian Heritage Week proclamations and they are given, in violation of the rights and religious freedoms of all non-Christians, as well as liberal Christians who stand for separation of church and state.
The proclamation this year states that because the Constitution of the State of Florida honors the Christian God, and because three of our Founders mention God or Christianity favorably, and because many great Americans were Christian, it is proclaimed that November 21st through 27th is named Christian Heritiage Week [and here’s the kicker] “in recognition of the American Family Association’s contribution to the quality of life in Indian River County.”
By signig this proclamation, the Indian River County Commission has aligned itself with an extremist Christian political group, a clear violation of its authority and the rights of the county’s citizens.
Contact the Indian River County Board of Commissioners, each of whom signed the proclomation:
Peter D. O’Bryan, District 4, 772-226-1440, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bob Solari, Chairman, District 5, 772-226-1438, email@example.com
Wesley S. Davis, District 1, 772-226-1442, firstname.lastname@example.org
Gary C. Wheeler, District 3, 772-226-1433, email@example.com
Joseph E. Flescher, District 2, 772-226-1919, firstname.lastname@example.org