Atheist group seeks end to Ala. grief counseling

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — An atheist group is asking the city of Montgomery to provide evidence that sending clergy to support victims at violent crime scenes will reduce crime in the city.

The organization American Atheists has questioned how providing grief counseling after a crime will reduce the number of crimes in the city.

The group claims Montgomery’s Operation Good Shepherd program is unconstitutional. City officials told the new program dispatches trained clergy to comfort victims at crime scenes in an effort to combat violent crime. City officials said the purpose of the program is not for “religious promotion or recruitment.”

Montgomery City Attorney Kimberly Fehl said in a letter to American Atheists that religious leaders had volunteered to provide the counseling.

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