Birmingham Police Chief responds to atheist group's accusations
Stop participating in prayer walks and do something practical to prevent crime. That's an atheist group's demand to Birmingham Police Chief A.C. Roper.The Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation says he is using his office to promote Christianity, violating the constitution's separation of church and state.Roper told ABC 33/40's Marissa Mitchell he wants "to shift the attention away from him." but he insists his department aims to be inclusive.The Freedom from Religion Foundation's attorney Andrew Seidel says the group has filed a complaint and a records request regarding the chief's involvement with Prayer Force United. In a six-page letter, Seidel also says Roper abuses his position by having prayer before employee meetings and using city resources, like police escorts, for prayer walks.[Click here to read the full letter.]In a statement, Roper says "we are and will continue to be extremely inclusive, including supporting interfaith events as we have in the past." Seidel says an employee with the Birmingham Police Department first raised the complaint two weeks ago.There is a Prayer Force United Walk scheduled for Saturday, March 15, in the Fairview and West Princeton neighborhoods.Stay with ABC 33/40 for more on this developing story.