The usage of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, and Telegram has been on the rise in recent years. Social media has its own positive and negative repercussions. Social media was to function as a communication link between families, friends, and working mates. However, social media posts have ended up impacting both positively and negatively on our lives. Everyone gets a chance to air his or her opinion through social media platforms. Lately, there has been a mixed reaction on the San Bernardino Sheriff Department, with allegations that the police are campaigning for a specific religious belief. The mixed reaction was due to a photo posted by the Sheriff’s Department on 1st May 2018.
In the social media post, a police officer from the Sheriff department praying while kneeling before the start of his shift was what was behind the mixed reaction. His colleagues saw him praying while kneeling, and they decided to take a photo of him and then had it posted. The text accompanied the post, “Yucaipa Deputy Wedge takes a moment before his shift to pray for the safety of his partners and the community they serve.” They didn’t want to interrupt his prayers and decided to take the photo silently before posting it on social media. His colleagues didn’t expect the post to trend the way it did. Deputy Wedge later explained that he had to pray for the welfare of both his colleagues and the general public.
The majority of the followers of the police department’s official page praised the deputy for prioritizing the welfare of his community. Some of the readers commented on how they appreciated police work despite the many challenges and threats they face in the line of duty. More of his supporters argued that there was nothing wrong with the post as every person has the right to express his or her divergent view on social media since we live in a democratic world. On the other hand, antagonists to the post were disgusted by the fact that the post seemingly supported a particular religion in a country where there was freedom of expression. One comment stated that action from a Deputy in the Sheriff department indicated that the state was campaigning toward a specific religion.
According to the post critics, a democratic country should hold the state and religion as two separate entities. The police officer kneeling and praying while in his uniform and ready to perform his constitutional mandate, portrayed a picture of the country not separating the state from religion, hence the country being a state religion. Supporters of the post asked how the critics knew that the prayer was a Christian prayer. Maybe it was not a Christian prayer after all the critics. One follower said that it was irrational for some people to mention that the police department was not separating state from religion because of the mere fact that a police officer was praying while about to perform his constitutional duty. The existence of a secular state doesn’t mean that the citizens can’t participate in the religion of choice. Most of the comments on the twitter page show that majority didn’t see anything alarming with the post. Some asked the rest of the followers of the blog also to kneel and pray like the officer.