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Contact: Deborah Hamilton, Hamilton Strategies, 215.815.7716, 610.584.1096
March 17, 2014
Atheist Group Attempts to Silence Christian Police Chief
American Family Association Challenges Group’s Skewing of Constitution in Effort to Stifle Religious Liberty

American Family Association (AFA, denounced the anti-Christian Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) for demanding that a Birmingham, Alabama police chief refrain from practicing his faith in the public arena.   

Police Chief A.C. Roper, who is also an ordained minister, recently received a menacing letter from FFRF, erroneously accusing him of violating the Constitution by “mixing … official government duties with … religious zeal.” 

Specifically, FFRF took issue with Chief Roper’s involvement with Prayer Force United—a group of church and ministry leaders, city leaders, and citizens that walks through and prays over the City of Birmingham—as well as with what they call Roper’s “inflict[ing] prayers ‘in the name of Jesus’ on officers at police functions.” In its letter, FFRF said the solution is for Roper to end his association with Prayer Force United and to stop praying at police functions—in essence, to leave his deeply held religious convictions at the workplace door.  

“In a nation that claims religious liberty as a hallmark of her heritage, it’s incomprehensible that we’re hearing of attempts to intimidate public servants into silence on their religious beliefs,” said American Family Association President Tim Wildmon. 

“Equally shocking is the obvious ignorance FFRF has of American history.  In 1944 on D-Day, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt famously prayed on national radio to ‘Almighty God,’ imploring His guidance and strength. And it was understood that this was constitutional. Even President Thomas Jefferson attended church services held in the House of Representatives. Either Jefferson, of ‘separation of church and state’ fame, got it wrong, or FFRF needs some serious education in constitutional history.”   

As reports, Chief Roper has reiterated his support for Prayer Force United, saying “Obviously, it’s no secret that I support the prayer walks and many other faith-based community events as one tool in our overall crime-fighting strategy…. We have built strong partnerships with various groups, and I believe they have done a wonderful job committing their assets and assisting us in addressing various issues that affect crime.” 

Wildmon issued an informal challenge to FFRF, saying the prayers should continue and stock taken after one year to see if crime has, indeed, gone down. “Regardless of the outcome, however, the issue is that FFRF wants to end religious liberty and eradicate faith from the public square. And they have no constitutional basis to do so.”   

The attack on Chief Roper is the latest in an intensifying string of hateful attacks against Christians. From atheist groups targeting cross-themed war memorials honoring our veterans and the Department of Veterans Affairs censoring Christmas songs mentioning “Jesus” to lawsuits attempting to force Christians to participate in same-sex ‘marriage’ ceremonies and Obamacare regulations mandating people of faith pay for abortions, open attacks against Christians are on the rise. 

In the face of this blatant effort to eradicate Christian faith from public life, AFAcautions Americans against being intimidated and encourages them to study and understand the freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution. 

For more information on American Family Association, visit 


To interview a representative from American Family Association, contact Deborah Hamilton at, 215-815-7716 or 610-584-1096. 

American Family Association (AFA) a non-profit 501(c3) organization was founded in 1977 by Donald E. Wildmon, who was pastoring First United Methodist Church in Southaven, Mississippi, at the time. Since 1977, AFA has been on the frontlines of America’s culture war. The original name of the ministry was National Federation for Decency but was changed to American Family Association in 1988. Today, AFA is one of the largest and most effective pro-family organizations in the country with more than one million online supporters and approximately 180,000 paid subscribers to the AFA Journal, the ministry’s monthly magazine. In addition, AFA owns and operates nearly 200 radio stations across the country under the American Family Radio banner. 

Other divisions of AFA include American Family Radio, the AFA Foundation and, an online news provider that is syndicated around the world. AFA maintains activist web sites such as that rally Christian activists to contact companies asking them to drop their advertising from objectionable TV shows. AFA websites average over 6 million unique visitors and 44 million hits per year. AFA uses all these means to communicate an outspoken, resolute, Christian voice throughout America. 

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