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Texas Sheriff Sued For Christian Crosses On Vehicles

The Freedom From Religion Foundation and two of its members filed a lawsuit on March 2 against Brewster County, Texas, and Brewster County Sheriff Ronny Dodson for placing Christian cross stickers on patrol vehicles.

Dodson has denied the Latin cross decals indicate any kind of religious preference, but does believe that deputies should "ask for all of the help" they can receive, reports The Associated Press.

Debbie Skelton, an employee with the Brewster County Sheriff's Office, wrote on the office's Facebook page on Dec. 20, 2015: "We stand with Sheriff Ronny Dodson on his decision to place crosses on all of his deputies vehicles. These crosses are white with a thin blue stripe across them. He said that he wanted God’s protection over his deputies and that the thin blue line stands for law enforcement."

There's no biblical commandment or verse that says cross symbols provide protection, but the BBC noted in 2011: "The belief that the cross can ward off evil and protect the wearer goes back a long way. From the early centuries of Christianity, it's been a custom among Christians to make the sign of a cross on themselves with a hand."

Kevin Price and Jesse Castillo -- local plaintiffs, atheists and members of FFRF -- said in the lawsuit that they do "not believe in any supernatural beings," and oppose "an exclusively Christian religious symbol" displayed on county patrol vehicles, according to an FFRF press release. Nonprofit FFRF advocates for separation of church and state.

"Whether it is a cross, a star and crescent, or a pentagram, law enforcement must remain neutral on matters of religion in order to foster public confidence in their impartiality," FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor said in the release.

Sources: Freedom From Religion Foundation, BBC, Brewster County Sheriff's Office/Facebook, AP via San Antonio Express-News / Photo credit: Freedom From Religion Foundation

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