Sheriff Ed Gonzalez Targeted by Freedom From Religion Foundation
The infamous Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) recently took the satirical phrase, “no good deed goes unpunished,” to a new level.
Known for being roaming complainers who bully students, government officials and religious leaders for living out their faith, the FFRF now wants to squash religious expression by attacking a local sheriff in Houston, TX.
A couple of weeks ago, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez invited famous rap artist Kanye West to perform some of his recently released religious-themed songs for the inmates at the Harris County Jail.
West performed for more than 500 inmates, including male inmates at one jail facility, before crossing the street to another for a smaller crowd of female inmates, where they could be seen joining along in worship and prayer.
But as FFRF is infamously known to do, they failed to see the good in an emotive expression of faith. They reacted to the rapper’s visit by sending an outrageous complaint claiming that West singing uplifting religious songs was an “egregious” constitutional violation.
What’s more, they went as far as to demand the county provide public documentation and assurance that it “will not organize or promote worship services in the future.”
If Sheriff Gonzalez had extended the same opportunity just six months ago, these anti-faith radicals—located over a thousand miles away—wouldn’t have noticed. Of course, they now feel the need to create a problem where none exists simply because West is living out his professed Christian faith.
Though FFRF insists on bullying tactics to impose their anti-religion agenda, there is no need for West and thousands of people of faith and ministries who frequently serve the incarcerated to feel intimidated…because FFRF is wrong on the law.
They may want shut off West’s microphone, but here’s the real mic drop: It’s wholly consistent with the Constitution and federal law to allow organizations and individuals to offer a positive message to the nation’s inmates, even when the message is faith-based.
Say what you want about Mr. West—whether you like him, disagree with the actions in his past, or even if you don’t particularly share a taste for his music—but he clearly believes in freedom. As an American, he has every right to talk about the redemptive power of faith in God.
And on top of that, he’s willing to live out what he believes.
When we take a moment to read the lyrics in one of his recent songs “On God”, West expresses that “His [God’s] light shine[s] the brightest in the dark.” That’s exactly the type of message one would think is not controversial, especially for prisoners who are more than likely experiencing some of the darkest hours of their lives.
It’s cruel, harsh and even appalling for anti-faith group to use the threat of legal action to try to deny America’s inmates the opportunity to hear a life-changing message. Not only is that religious discrimination, it also robs people whose lives could be changed for the better.
Let’s consider that if we had more messengers like West delivering hope, forgiveness and redemption to jails across America, it’s possible we might have less need for jails, because religious freedom and faith have the power to change lives.
It should come as no surprise that religious Americans choose to put their beliefs into practice by serving those whom many in our society have already given up on. Anti-religion zealots can kick, scream and mangle the Constitution as much as they want, but the fact remains that religious freedom is alive and well in our country…which means West’s message is legal.
Here at First Liberty, we’re ready to be First in the Fight® and confront those bullies who wish to censor or stop people like West from living out their faith.
– Jorge Gomez
Note: The article was originally titled, “Atheists Demand Kanye West Not Sing Uplifting Religious Songs for Houston Jail Inmates” and posted at First Liberty.