Republican Rep. Scott Allen of Wisconsin has come under fire from the Freedom From Religion Foundation after reportedly proselytizing during a state-sponsored Christmas message posted Dec. 18 on the Wisconsin Assembly Republicans YouTube channel (video below).
Allen begins his message by wishing viewers a Merry Christmas, but then makes a digression that could be considered a call for conversion.
“For those who may watch this who are not Christians, I invite you to consider the hope offered by the Prince of Peace,” Allen says.
The FFRF, a nonprofit that advocates the separation of church and state, based in Madison, Wisconsin, swiftly voiced its disapproval of Allen’s gesture, stating that he is trying to tell his constituents what religion to follow.
“They’re not supposed to tell us what to believe and what church to go to and how to be saved,” FFRF co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor told WITI.
In a letter to Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, the FFRF pointed out that Allen was using equipment paid for by the state to record his message and broadcasted it from a government platform.
“While Allen is free to promote his personal religious beliefs on his own time, it is inappropriate to do so when he is afforded a special platform due to his elected position,” the letter stated, according to RawStory.
“Using state resources to promote one particular religion, and suggesting that people should convert or even consider converting to that religion, is unconstitutional.”
Although Allen says his constituents have praised his message, the video had received hundreds more downvotes than upvotes by Dec. 31.
The assembly representative has refused to apologize for the video, stating his Christian faith comes first.
“It is by definition who I am,” Allen told WITI. “It is inseparable from me. If people of the 97th District don’t like that, then they have a choice to make.”