Atheists have reportedly set their sights on a Connecticut lawmaker, taking aim at his decision to volunteer as a Salvation Army bellringer and claiming that his actions violate the separation of church and state.
State Sen. George Logan, a Republican, recently found himself drawing the ire of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Wisconsin-based atheist activist group, over his decision to volunteer as a bellringer outside of a Walmart in Naugatuck, Connecticut.
Why, you ask? The Salvation Army is a Christian organization and, thus, the FFRF took issue, writing a letter to Logan that encouraged him to “consider supporting only secular charities in the future,” The Connecticut Post reported.
According to the activist group, Logan should do this so that he can “ensure that representatives do not give the appearance of promoting an overtly Christian mission.” Additionally, the atheist group said that such an action would “prevent citizens from feeling ostracized by their elected representatives because of their religious beliefs or sexual preference.”
“The Salvation Army is not merely a charity or chain of thrift stores — it is a church denomination with an evangelistic mission,” the letter read. “The Salvation Army has also publicly taken a discriminatory stance against homosexuality throughout its history.”
As for Logan, though, he didn’t seem too persuaded by atheists’ request, telling The Connecticut Post that he believes it is wrong to “politicize charity work.”
“The Salvation Army is trying to raise money to provide food, clothing and, in some cases, shelter for people,” he said. “It was such a good experience. You get to meet folks. It puts a smile on people’s faces knowing they’re helping out folks less fortunate.”
Logan also appeared on “Fox & Friends” this week and offered a similar response, while also pushing back against atheists’ claims that his good deed somehow violates the U.S. Constitution, specifically the separation of church and state.
“That does not mean that politicians or legislations need to turn their back on religious groups, turn their back on their faith and certainly not turn their back on any organization that’s looking to help the people of our community,” he said.