A notorious atheist lobby group has issued a complaint to the Texas Sheriff responsible for allowing Kanye West into the Harris County Jail for an impromptu worship service.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation has urged Sheriff Ed Gonzales that this type of religious gathering must not happen again, after the Gonzales himself referred to it as a “church service” on Twitter.
“The Supreme Court has said time and again that the First Amendment ‘mandates governmental neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion,’” FFRF Director of Strategic Response Andrew L. Seidel explained in the letter. “By organizing what you admit to be a worship service, you crossed this line.”
FFRF added that Gonzales “has been elected to a secular office and to uphold a secular Constitution” and “cannot use that public office to promote his personal religion, even if it happens to be a religion Kanye West shares.”
Th alleged “constitutional violation” was “egregious,” said FFRF, “because it imposed religious views on inmates — literally a captive audience — who have a deep and immediate interest in being seen favorably by the jail staff.”
In comments made following Kanye’s appearance, Gonzales told KHOU 11 that the whole occasion was “very uplifting,” noting that many of the inmates experienced God in a powerful way. “You can see some who were down on their knees in prayer – to even some of our teammates who were brought to tears,” he said.
In a tweet showing inmates with their arms aloft in worship, Jason Spencer, the public affairs director for the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, added that Kanye and his choir “brought some light to people who needed it.”