The Harper Police Department in Kansas recently removed a Bible verse decal that was placed on one of its patrol cars because of a complaint from an atheist organization.
The Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) reportedly received a complaint from a local resident about the patrol car with the decal containing the words “Romans 13:4.”
FFRF wrote a letter to police chief Doug Murphy on June 22 saying the verse on the patrol car was “inappropriate and unconstitutional.”
FFRF said the decal violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. It shows the police department’s preference for Christianity over other religions, and it should be removed, the organization said.
In the Bible, the verse speaks about the role of government and says, “For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.”
The organization claimed that the choice of verse was disturbing because it speaks about the bearing of swords and the execution of wrath when the primary responsibility of the police is to serve and protect.
On June 28, Murphy sent a short letter to FFRF informing them that the decal had been removed. No other explanation was given.
FFRF co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor was pleased that the police department was quick to respond after it “realized the folly of its ways.”