Atheist Group Outraged Police Awards Being Held At Theological Seminary


A prominent professing atheist group has taken issue with an awards ceremony for a Florida police department that was held at a theological seminary and included an invocation.

The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) recently sent a letter to Jeffrey Chudnow, the chief of police with the Oviedo Police Department, to outline its objections to the event that took place this past March.

According to reports, the Oviedo Police Department Awards Ceremony and Career Track Recognition was held at Reformed Theological Seminary on March 31 and included a time of prayer.

 “Allowing prayer at an awards ceremony sends the message that the police department not only prefers religion over non-religion, but also Christianity over all other faiths,” the letter from FFRF read. “Non-religious officers face the difficult choice of not attending the event and possibly forgoing well-deserved recognition, leaving the event when the invocation begins … or enduring a religious ritual that they might find distasteful or even deeply offensive.”
  “Additionally, OPD awards ceremonies should not be held in churches,” it continued. “This practice forces employees, who may be of varying religions or have none at all, to enter into a Christian house of worship.”

Chudnow, a Jew, replied to the letter by advising that there had been no complaints about the event and that he himself was not disturbed by the location or the service.



“I can assure you that neither the Oviedo Police Department nor the City of Oviedo … have any intention of establishing a religion,” he wrote. “Also in this regard, no attending individual is required to engage in any prayer they do not want to participate.”





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