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OPINION

Sheriff Ordered to Remove “Blessed are the Peacemakers” Decals

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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The peacemakers are not allowed to be blessed in Montgomery County, Virginia.

The sheriff was ordered on May 17 to remove decals bearing a portion of a well-known Bible verse from patrol cars.

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The decal, which had been posted on vehicles in March, bore the words, “Blessed are the peacemakers…Matthew 5:9.”

“Our intent was, and still is, to honor our fellow brothers and sisters in law enforcement,” Sheriff C.H. Partin wrote in a statement to Fox News.

The sheriff said the decals were removed at the request of the county’s board of supervisors.

“In the midst of National Police Week, we want to focus on those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving their communities,” the sheriff said. “The last thing that I want is for this to become a distraction to the men and women who serve their communities selflessly every day.”

I could not imagine any elected leaders giving such a detestable order – so I reached out to the board of supervisors to verify the report. It turns out – they really gave that detestable order.

“In my mind, there’s nothing wrong with the statement itself,” supervisor Chris Tuck told me. “Any individual can put that on your car however they would like. However, based on our legal advice, when you put, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers’ and make the reference to Matthew 5:9, there are some serious concerns about the Establishment Clause and Separation of Church and State and the First Amendment.”

Mr. Tuck tells me the board made its decision after first consulting with their attorney.

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Their attorney told them “the decals would be a violation of the First Amendment based on the current case law because of the reference to Matthew 5:9.”

It sounds to me like the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors is in desperate need of an attorney who understands the law.

Mr. Tuck told me they could’ve ignored their attorney’s advice – but that would’ve put the county at risk for hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees.

“I don’t believe the citizens of Montgomery County want me to get into a situation where hundreds of thousands of dollars of tax money may end up having to be given to the ACLU,” he said.

Blessed are the attorneys for they shall inherit everyone’s money…

I was curious, though – who raised a complaint about the decals in the first place?

“The first notice we had was an inquiry by the Roanoke Times,” Mr. Tuck told me. “That was the first that the board received.”

Well, there you have it, folks. This is why people don’t like newspaper reporters. They stir up a stink when there’s no stink to stir.

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