Decals stating “Blessed are the peacemakers” no longer appear on vehicles of the Houston County, Al., Sheriff’s Office vehicles based on a recommendation by the county administrator, reports Al.com. Administrator Bill Dempsey told the Dothan Eagle he advised Sheriff Donald Valenza to remove the Biblical (Matthew 5:9) decals after hearing threats of a lawsuit from Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
The Freedom from Religion Foundation also sent the sheriff a letter asking him to remove the decals because they violate the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Dempsey said that after speaking to a local attorney and the county’s insurance carrier it was determined a lawsuit over the decals would be too expensive. “We have been in meetings with the sheriff for the past week, and we told him we support what’s written on the stickers and we support the spirit of it,” he said. “But unfortunately, from a legal perspective, we could spend hundreds of thousands and still likely lose.”