Appeals court rules against Clarke

According to a unanimous ruling form a federal appeals court, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke was wrong when he forced his deputies to listen to a Christian-themed presentation during roll call in 2006. The appeals court ruled that in doing so, Clarke violated the constitutional separation of church and state. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Clarke invited the newly formed Fellowship of the Christian Centurions to address deputies at 16 roll call meetings in May of 2006, after the group also spoke to the Sheriff’s Department leadership conference. During their presentation, the group offered peer support for law enforcement and discussed how officers could “impact others for Christ,” while one of the Centurion speakers quoted the Bible in a talk to deputies, saying that God “established government and that people in authority are ministers of God assigned to promote good and punish evil.” The appeals court found that Clarke’s endorsement of the Centurions’ religious message was obvious, and deputies were required to listen to the presentation. What’s more, when some deputies complained, Clarke persisted in making them attend the presentations.

I know the issue of religion and government (and their separation) can be contentious, but this seems pretty cut and dry to me. If Sheriff Clarke wanted to make sure his deputies who wanted to hear the presentation from the Christian Centurions had an opportunity to so, he certainly could have allowed them the opportunity to do so without forcing every single deputy to have to sit through the presentation, even those deputies who weren’t Christian. Then again, considering the fact that David Clarke thinks he can do no wrong, I’m not surprised that he acted in such a manner.


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6 thoughts on “Appeals court rules against Clarke

  1. I read a couple more blog post about this and the more I read the worse it gets. One thing I find interesting is the JS didn’t report in the linked story how much Sheriff Clarke’s violation of the separation of church and state cost the taxpayers. Money seems to be what speaks to people lately…so if the fact he feels he and other “christian” LEO are chosen by God to fight evil…(I wish they had him define evil)…doesn’t matter to the taxpayers…then maybe knowing how much money his violations depleted from the taxpayer’s wallet might make them take notice. I can’t help but wonder why the JS didn’t report the cost to taxpayers??

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