Roper responds to accusations from Atheist group

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Birmingham Police Chief A.C. Roper addressed accusations by the Freedom from Religion Foundation that he is using his office to promote Christianity.

At one of the city’s monthly prayer walks, Roper said the events are about at partnership between many organizations and citizens who care about what’s happening where they live.

“A police department can’t be successful by itself. We have people who are willing to come out on a Saturday morning and walk through these neighborhoods showing that they care about what’s occurring, it is important for us,” said Roper.

Related: Chief Roper’s participation in prayer rally questioned

For years Roper has used prayer as part of his arsenal for fighting crime in the Magic City. That work hasn’t come without criticism, the foundation is holding up Roper as their latest example of blurring the lines between church and state, as a police chief openly promoting Christianity.

Roper doesn’t feel those accusations are fair.

“This is still America, we have the freedom of speech, the freedom of religion and the freedom of assembly and it applies for everybody.”

Prayer Force United was established in 2008. Churches, ministers and citizens from all over the city walk the streets and pray for a decrease in crime.

Roper says a recent report shows that in 2013, the city of Birmingham had the lowest crime rate in the past 30 years.

At this time the Freedom from Religion Foundation is asking Chief Roper to cease using his office to promote religion, cease his official relationship with Prayer Force United and to stop imposing religion on employees via prayer.

Copyright 2014 WIAT-CBS42

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