The Decatur County Sheriff’s Department in Indiana celebrated the baptisms of some 40 incarcerated men and women just before the New Year.
“What a great way to celebrate Christmas and a New Year!” a Facebook post from the department read. “DCDC Chaplain Dave Burnett, along with REC members, baptized nearly 40 men and women after a personal, public profession of Jesus Christ in their lives.”
The Facebook post has sparked a range of reactions, with many applauding the department for sharing the good news, Faithwire reports.
The department said that nearly 300 incarcerated men and women at the Decatur County Detention Center have chosen to give their lives to Christ in the past four years.
“All glory to GOD!” the department wrote on Facebook.
Local newspapers reported that 59 men and women were baptized, and each said they were “committed to changing their hearts.”
“If you can change the heart during that journey, everything will follow suit,” outgoing Sheriff Dave Durant told The Daily News in 2019. “Whether it be alcohol or drugs or poverty that are creating the cycle, we only have to change their hearts to stop the process.”
Previously, the Freedom From Religion Foundation has criticized the Indiana sheriff’s department for organizing the baptism events.
“An Indiana sheriff’s department must immediately cease putting together Christian events, including baptismals (sic), inside its detention center,” the group said in a released statement from the summer of 2022.
“The Decatur County Sheriff’s Department must cease so blatantly endorsing and promoting Christianity.”
Last week, the group sent another letter to the department, calling for them to stop the baptisms and saying the department was committing “multiple constitutional violations.”
“To avoid further Establishment Clause concerns and to protect the rights of its inmates and the general public, the Decatur County Sheriff’s Department must refrain from promoting religion on social media and cease its coordination of religious programs and events,” the letter reads.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Motortion
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.