RE: Operation Good Shepard
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October 16, 2013
The Honorable Todd Strange
Mayor, City of Montgomery
103 South Perry
Montgomery, AL 36104
Re: Operation Good Shepard
Dear Mayor Strange:
The Foundation for Moral Law and myself would like to take this opportunity to show you and the city of Montgomery our gratitude for your stand in fighting crime here in our capital city. We at the Foundation commend you for your stand and believe this is a great way to reach out to our society. As we know, with a great stand comes a fight and we are willing to aid in the acquisition of a sound community.
It has come to our attention that the American Atheists along with other groups have raised concerns over Montgomery’s Operation Good Shepard program. Although we are not surprised that these groups have come forward, we are confident that their claims are wholly unfounded in both law and common sense.
The American Atheists’ claim that Operation Good Shepard is, “blatantly and facially unconstitutional under the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States,” is simply unfounded. The First Amendment to the Constitution protects the freedom of religion, not a freedom from religion. It is, if you will, a license to practice religious beliefs, not a prohibition upon them as the American Atheists seem to believe.
Many government bodies across the nation open their doors to religious groups in fully constitutional fashion. Courts, legislatures, and town halls regularly open meetings with prayer or some form of religious introduction. Such practices are deeply rooted in the history and tradition of our great nation and are protected by the First Amendment.
As I understand, Montgomery officials have reached out to various religious groups including Jewish, Islamic, and Christian followers in the implementation of Operation Good Shepard. This bears stark difference to a government program which outright endorses a certain religious group, such as a program which, for example, allowed only for Methodist pastors to take part.
Here at the foundation, we are very pleased with your efforts to reduce violent crime in our community and we applaud the city’s use of religious individuals in combating criminal behavior in our area. We hope that Operation Good Shepard continues to effectively train and engage religious officials to work in conjunction with sound police efforts in order to reduce violent crime and ensure a safer Montgomery community.
The Foundation is experienced in dealing with similar community programs from around the nation which have come under fire by anti-religious groups. The Foundation is uniquely positioned to combat such hateful efforts and, being located in Montgomery, the Foundation would be equipped to offer its assistance in this matter should you welcome help.
It is no secret that Montgomery has recently been facing high levels of violent crime and homicide. In times as these we appreciate your heroism in the face of such conflict. I note that although crime is an on-going battle it can be manageable.
Thank you for your actions to combat crime in our community and thank you for your stand in support of Operation Good Shepard.
Most sincerely and respectfully,
Foundation for Moral Law