After Homicide Uptick, Alabama Police Department Blames People Who Have 'Embraced Satan'
By Kate Feldman
A rural Alabama police force believes two gun deaths in its small community are the result of its residents' rejection of God.
In a now-deleted Facebook post, the Opp Police Department blamed a spike in homicide -- one on Sunday and one on Monday -- in their 6,500-person town along the Alabama-Florida border on an apparent embrace of Satan.
"These murders have been done by our young people. This is happening because we have turned away from God and embraced Satan. We may have not meant to do so but, we have. It is time to ask for God's help to stop this. It is time to be parents and raise our children, not have them raise us," the department wrote on Facebook.
"It is time to fully support law enforcement and stand by the officers and deputies that are far too often having to walk into these dangerous situations and clean up the mess. Friends, it is time to stand up and be responsible, grown up leaders in our community. Bottom line, there are sheep; there are wolves and there are sheep dogs. Which group do you belong to?"
It's unclear why exactly Opp police believe its residents have embraced Satan and the department did not immediately return a request for comment.
The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, which a watchdog group that polices the separation of church and state, called the Facebook post "highly illegal."
"It is negligent for the department to spread a message of prejudice against those who choose not to believe in or worship a god," the foundation said in a letter to the Opp Police Department.
"The department certainly has no data to support its theory that a rise in violent crime is caused by those choosing to turn away from god belief. Numerous scientific studies prove otherwise."
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