Ontario police force faces backlash after publishing religious tweets
Most residents who follow local police on social media do so to keep up to date on crimes, emergencies, road closures and other relevant goings-on in their area, and not much else.
One Toronto-area force is under fire this week for deviating from this type of news that they are known for sharing with the public through such channels after it issued a series of Easter tweets that many felt were unnecessary and too religious.
The Hamilton Police Service tweeted out an image of a cross on Good Friday this past week, telling residents "may his light guide your path, may his love grace your heart and may his sacrifice strengthen your soul" in some very biblical language.
Two days later, the force again tweeted a religious image to commemmorate Easter Sunday, writing "May Christ's glory and this time of renewal bring peace and joy to everyone" — not really the type of language one expects from their local police force.
And, of course, people decided to express their feelings about the post.
keep religion out of government funded organizations please, separation of church and state— 🏳️🌈Mike(Formally Mag00)🇨🇦🏴☠️ (@PhattyMkracken) April 15, 2022
"You guys need to remain a secular organization, please," one citizen wrote.
"Alternately, you need to announce every single religious holiday celebrated on this planet, so daily. For Hamilton police, Easter is not a eucharist celebration, no christ no resurrection. iI's a chocolate and bunny holiday."
Police dept shouldn't be making any faith related messages.— Gord Black (@Gordb2009) April 16, 2022
Another chimed in, saying "This shouldn't be on here. I'm not funding someone to sit around and write religious tweets. This is also offensive towards atheists and other non religious people."
(Someone else was quick to reply: "In what way do you believe this could be interpreted as offensive? Nothing wrong with acknowledging others beliefs and wishing them a happy day. Grow up.")
This should not be coming from our publicly funded police. I can't believe this was approved.— Denise (She/Her) 🇨🇦🏴 (@dbydand) April 15, 2022
And yet another: "Seriously @HamiltonPolice!? Who approved this tweet? A public service tweeting Christian tweets... You see the problem with this, no?"
It seems that the posts didn't go over well, but they aren't actually out of the ordinary from the service, which has publicized similarly religious images and text for holidays associated with Sikhism, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and the Baháʼí Faith.
One person shared examples of these, all of them including a standard logo from the force on one side, along with the name of the holiday and religion that celebrates it.
Why only hatred for Christian tweets, when these ones garnish zero comments? pic.twitter.com/SNXBHldtfu— delta echo whiskey (@phibian79) April 18, 2022
While many were critical of the Easter messaging, a number were also in support of it, and quick to note that this is just a thing that the force does.
The larger question appears to be whether a publicly-funded, secular organization should be touching such subject matter at all on their social channels.
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