A Republican senator has rebuffed an atheist organization's demands that he stop posting Bible verses on his official Facebook and Twitter accounts.
“The First Amendment prohibits government sponsorship of religious messages,” wrote Freedom From Religion Foundation Co-Presidents Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor in a letter to Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy last month.
“Your office violates this constitutional mandate when it proselytizes the Christian faith to all constituents, such as directing them to ‘Trust in the LORD.’”
In a response posted to social media on Tuesday, Cassidy rejected their request, arguing that they were trying to censor his Christian beliefs.
“The Freedom From Religion Foundation has demanded that I stop sharing Bible verses with you. The left won’t bully me into canceling Christianity. Their request is denied,” he tweeted.
For her part, Gaylor responded to Cassidy's rejection in a statement released Wednesday, arguing that the senator was “willfully misunderstanding the issue.”
“As someone serving the Constitution, he can’t impose his religion on his constituents using official channels,” stated Gaylor.
This is not the first time that the FFRF, reportedly the largest atheist organization in the United States, has demanded that a senator quit posting Bible verses on social media.
In August 2017, FFRF demanded that Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., end his practice of posting verses to his official Twitter account, which he began doing that May.
“Partly because of the power and influence of [social media] accounts, the private social media accounts of people who assume government office can become accounts that speak for the government, unless these officers carefully distinguish their public and private roles,” wrote FFRF attorney Andrew Seidel.
“The @MarcoRubio account has not been scrupulous or thorough in this regard. It regularly, indeed mostly, transmits official statements and would be considered government speech.”
In October 2017, Rubio responded to the FFRF letter, telling CBN at the time that he will continue to tweet Bible verses despite it offending some Twitter followers.
“I'll continue to do it ... if they don't like it they don't have to follow me,” said Rubio. "Faith is the single biggest influence on my life, and it's a positive influence.”