A US police department has blamed crime on young people having “turned away from God and embraced Satan”.
In a now-deleted Facebook post on Tuesday police in the town of Opp, Alabama, detailed a number of killings in the area over the past year, before offering an unusual explanation.
“THESE MURDERS HAVE BEEN DONE BY OUR YOUNG PEOPLE,” read the post, which was all in capital letters.
“THIS IS HAPPENING BECAUSE WE HAVE TURNED AWAY FROM GOD AND EMBRACED SATAN. WE HAVE NOT MEANT TO DO SO BUT, WE HAVE.
“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?”
Who is policing the police? The Freedom From Religion Foundation, that’s who! The state/church watchdog is calling out the police department in the City of Opp, Ala. for blatant, illegal religious promotion on its Facebook page. https://t.co/ZUtXjISOg9 pic.twitter.com/k23u3WrgkT
— FFRF (@FFRF)
The message was criticised by Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRT), a group that opposes mixing government and religious faith.
The organisation said police in the town of 6,500 people were wrongly promoting religion. The group said it was illegal for a government entity to endorse or criticise religious belief.
“Who is policing the police?” FFRT wrote on Twitter, before condemning the “blatant, illegal religious promotion” on the police department’s Facebook page.
Opp police appear to regularly promote Christian messages on their Facebook page.
“God bless each and all on this Monday,” one post read earlier this week, while another said: “May God bless you and protect you.”
Opp police have been contacted for comment.