A Midwestern activist group has criticized Lubbock University Medical Center (UMC) for a banner that UMC hangs on one of its parking garages.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wisconsin, is calling for the UMC to “stop engaging in unconstitutional religious promotion.” UMC says the banner will be removed when the COVID-19 pandemic comes to an end.
The banner you can see in the photo below says, “Sir, I pray for all UMC. Your divine protection over them, guidance in them, and daily care for them, “Reverend Wendell Davis. Firm, not afraid. ‘
Freedom From Religion Foundation UMC banner photo – June 2021
The Freedom From Religion Foundation says its attorney wrote a letter to UMC officials stating that “the founding clause prohibits government funding of religious messages”.
On Thursday, the University Hospital released KFYO News in response to claims made by the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
Mark Funderburk, President and CEO of UMC, said, “The UMC Health System recently became aware of a concern raised by the Freedom from Religion Foundation regarding our display of a COVID-19 message of support on banners in our parking garage for ours Encourage staff to doctors and visitors through the pandemic.
“UMC Health System recognizes the diversity in our workplace and in our patient population. The UMC Health System also understands the delicate balance between freedom of worship and government neutrality.
“Following our original plan to replace the banner once our COVID-19 count goes down, it will be removed in the near future and replaced with a new message of support once we emerge from the pandemic.
“Like many hospitals, the University Medical Center has a Kaplan program designed to improve the health and wellbeing of patients. These professionals skillfully and compassionately attend to spiritual and emotional needs and support their health and wellbeing of the patients, employees and visitors of the UMC.
“It is noteworthy that before and since the first COVID-19 patient was admitted to the UMC, no patient, employee, or visitor has been forced to participate in any belief or practice.
“Most importantly, the UMC Health System is immensely blessed and happy to have an exceptional team of caregivers who have led with a strong determination to serve,” said Funderburk.
No specific date was given for the removal of the banner.
“The constitutional clause prohibits government sponsorship of religious messages,” Freedom From Religion Foundation staff member Chris Line wrote to University Medical Center President / CEO Mark Funderburk.
“The Supreme Court has said time and again that the ‘First Amendment prescribes government neutrality between religion and religion and between religion and non-religion.’ Like the Ten Commandments posters in the McCreary county buildings and the manger display on the Allegheny county lot, this display of religious sentiment on a large public hospital banner would be viewed by a reasonable observer as an advocacy of religion. and is therefore unconstitutional, “said Line.