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Sessions: FFRF’s demands that Ivey stop praying is ridiculous

Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions (Glenn Fawcett)

Wednesday, former Senator and GOP Senate candidate Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, said that Alabamians will not be intimidated by the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Sessions was responding to a letter that the FFRF sent to Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) demanding that she stop praying at press conferences and citing scriptures.

“This is RIDICULOUS,” Sessions said. “Alabamians will NOT be intimidated by Freedom From Religion Foundation atheists spouting constitutional heresies in their war on religion. My friend Governor Kay Ivey is completely within her God-given and constitutional rights to pray for Alabama, and I stand with her!”

“The FRFF atheists want to force Governor Ivey and all public officials to hide their deeply-held convictions,” Sessions continued. “THEY are trying to impose their views AGAINST religion on US! Gov. Ivey calling for prayer for our great state & country is NOT her forcing Christianity on anyone.”

“The Constitution guarantees EVERY American, even public officials, the right to freely exercise their religion,” Sessions stated. “It’s time this country REJECT the FRFF’s extreme and unconstitutional view of religious liberty in America.”

On Monday, the Wisconsin based Foundation chastised Gov. Ivey for, “Your use of your office to promote Christianity. FFRF’s purposes are to protect the constitutional principle of separation between state and church and to educate the public on matters relating to non-theism.”

The FFRF objected to Gov. Ivey’s speech during Friday’s press conference announcing that she was issuing a stay-at-home order for the State of Alabama to fight COVID-19.

“Multiple concerned Alabama residents reported that you used this official government event to promote your personal religious beliefs,” the FFRF wrote. “In the middle of your speech you suddenly started preaching,”

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“The good Lord reminds us in Isaiah 43:1-3, and I quote, “Do not fear for I am with you. Do not be dismayed for I am your God,” Ivey said drawing the ire of the FFRF. “I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous hand.”

They also objected to Ivey’s inviting Reverend Cromwell Handy from the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church to speak at this official state-sponsored event.”

“Reverend Handy delivered a 9-minute long sermon, during which he recited many different bible verses and referred to the pandemic as an opportunity given by God “to pause and reflect on His glory.”” The FFRF continued. “To end the press conference, you asked Reverend Handy “to lead a prayer to God Almighty asking for his blessings.. Reverend Handy then led all of the government officials present in a lengthy formal prayer “in Jesus’ name.””

The FFRF claimed that, “These actions amount to an endorsement of religion, specifically Christianity, in contravention of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.”

“We urge you in the future to refrain from promoting religion in your official capacity as governor of Alabama,” the FFRF stated.e

Sessions faces former Auburn head football Coach Tommy Tuberville in the Republican primary runoff on July 14. The winner of the runoff will face U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-Alabama) in the November general election.

Sessions served in the Senate from 1997 to 2017. He left the Senate after he was confirmed as President Donald J. Trump’s Attorney General and served in that role through November 2018. He was a late entry into the race for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate.

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Written By

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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