A police department in Alabama blamed a recent spike in crime for young people's lack of support for God.
The now-deleted post by the Opp Police Department on Tuesday linked a rise in murders to the idea that people are rejecting God and have now "embraced Satan."
"THESE MURDERS HAVE BEEN DONE BY OUR YOUNG PEOPLE. THIS IS HAPPENING BECAUSE WE HAVE TURNED AWAY FROM GOD AND EMBRACED SATAN," part of the post read. "WE MAY HAVE NOT MEANT TO DO SO BUT, WE HAVE. IT IS TIME TO ASK FOR GOD'S HELP TO STOP THIS."
The statement, which said five homicides had occurred in the county in 2018, followed two gunshot killings in Covington County on the Alabama-Florida line.
Sam Grover, an attorney for the Freedom From Religion group, said the message from the police department crossed the line between separation of church and state.
"The department has very directly endorsed one religious ideology to the exclusion of minority religions and atheism, and decried Satanism," he said in a statement. "Neither message is permissible."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.