Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey rejected demands from a secular group to remove posts on social media where he sent Easter greetings and cited a Bible verse, offering to provide copies of the Constitution to his critics.
Ducey, who’s a practicing Catholic, has been bombarded with calls from Secular Communities for Arizona to remove the post, which included a cross, a Bible verse, and the phrase, “He is risen.”
The group argued the posts crossed a line into government sponsorship of religious messages and was unconstitutional.
The governor fired back at the group, saying in a tweet that he will never remove the posts or other religious ones.
“We won’t be removing this post. Ever. Nor will we be removing our posts for Christmas, Hanukkah, Rosh Hashanah, Palm Sunday, Passover or any other religious holiday,” he tweeted. “We support the First Amendment, and are happy to provide copies of the Constitution to anyone who hasn’t read it.”
Dianne Post, an attorney for the secular group, told the Arizona Republic “elected officials should not use their government position and government property to promote their religious views.”
She added the courts have repeatedly “struck down symbolism that unites government with religion,” adding that Ducey’s office must “represent and protect the rights of all residents of Arizona, including those who do not believe in a monotheistic God or any gods at all.”
Many congratulated Ducey for not backing down amid the pressure, though some Facebook users sided with the secular group and criticized the governor on his original post.
“Why do you use a government platform to bring up your personal religion?” asked one person. “Are there no citizens in your jurisdiction that believe differently from you?”
Another stipulated that the post was somewhat discriminatory. “Great sensitivity, Doug. That's the last time this Jew votes for you,” one person wrote.
Ducey wished in a statement Arizonans last week a “blessed and joyful Easter and Passover weekend.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.