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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Atheists Demand Town Remove Church Welcome Signs

A group of perpetually-offended atheists, agnostics and freethinkers are threatening to sue a small Wisconsin town because of two welcome signs.

The signs, which were posted some 50 years ago, read, "The Churches of Oconomowoc Welcome You."

The Freedom From Religion Foundation said the welcome signs are unconstitutional because they are not neutral toward all faiths.

"It endorses religion over non-religion and Christianity over all other faiths," FFRF attorney Ryan Jayne wrote in a letter to town leaders.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is on a national crusade to eradicate public displays of the Christian faith. They typically target communities that do not have the financial resources to fight back.

The Wisconsin-based Institute for Law & Liberty fired off a letter to the town council urging them to stand firm.

"It takes something more than a sign put up by private parties reflecting a message of welcome to inflict constitutional injury," president Richard Esenberg wrote in a letter obtained by the newspaper.

More here

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well, as per usual, the facts of this sort of story are not exactly accurate.

First - the FFRF is not acting on their own accord - they are representing locals to Oconowomoc who brought this to their attention.

The FFRF is NOT on a crusade against the Christian religion as portrayed by this article. They are making sure that the law of the land is upheld by making sure that the Constitution is followed and that the government does not get into the religion business, and visa versa. They do not single out any religion.

This sign is argued to be on public land, which would be in conflict with the establishment clause.

This is not about being offended. Everyone loves to paint this picture of the angry offended atheist. This is pure ad hominem. This is about what the law says, and has nothing to do with offense.

Also, the amount of time something has been violating the law bears no relevance to the fact that it is in violation of the law. If it is in conflict with the law, it is in conflict.

I would like someone to explain to this atheist, who as the article asserts has "his panties in a bunch" why a welcome sign to a city on public land has to have a religious message? Is it only the Churches that welcome you to the city? Why does the sign HAVE to be this?

Rebel Without a Clue said...

As a fellow Atheist, I can say that I am not offended by these signs. If a church wants to put up a welcome sign then by all means, please do so. If a synagogue wants to do the same thing then please do so. If a mosque wants to . . . . . ., I think that you get the picture. People take umbrage over anything nowadays and it is getting really ridiculous. Please give it a rest.

I can say that I feel more comfortable around people of Christian and Jewish and Buddhist/Hindu faiths than I do around people of the Muslim faith. I have nothing against Muslims per se other than them wanting to kill all non-believers.

Just my two cents.

Anonymous said...

@10:01

It's not the message of the sign that is the problem. It is that it is on public land. If the sign was on private property there would be no issue at all.

Jim said...

"It's not the message of the sign that is the problem. It is that it is on public land. If the sign was on private property there would be no issue at all."


This is America. We have a first amendment that guarantees freedom of religion, which includes the expression of that religion.

That right is not suspended or revoked when one is on public property.

There is no amendment to the Constitution that guarantees freedom from being offended.



Jim said...

"This is not about being offended. Everyone loves to paint this picture of the angry offended atheist. This is pure ad hominem. This is about what the law says, and has nothing to do with offense. "

What "law" are you referring to? There is no such law. Only an incessant drumbeat of resistance to the free exercise of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment.

Anonymous said...

F them!

Anonymous said...

@10:40 - Jim

Great question. It's the Establishment clause, which is found in the Constitution of the United States...

as explained by one of the writers of the Constitution, Thomas Jefferson in a letter to the Danbury Baptists

"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties."

If you need further help on the law, here are some Supreme Court Cases where they ruled on the law, the establishment clause:
McCollum v. Board of Education Dist. 71, 333 U.S. 203 (1948)
Burstyn v. Wilson, 72 S. Ct. 777 (1952)
Torcaso v. Watkins, 367 U.S. 488 (1961)
Engel v. Vitale, 82 S. Ct. 1261 (1962)
Epperson v. Arkansas, 89 S. Ct. 266 (1968)

I could go on if you need to, but a simple search should help you out.

Anonymous said...

DOUBLE F them.

Anonymous said...

What the First Amendment says is
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof... meaming ypu can worship what you want, but ypu can't do it or advertise doing it on State property.

How would you feel if it was a sign from a Muslim mosque welcoming people?

Displaying signs that promote Christian churches fails to respect either constitutional mandate of neutrality. It endorses religion over nonreligion and Christianity over all other faiths. As a consequence, these signs convey a message to non-Christians that they are not “favored members of the community,” to cite the U.S. Supreme Court. We’re talking about a significant proportion that is alienated due to such symbolism. Nearly 30 percent of Americans are non-Christians, either practicing a minority religion or no religion at all.

No matter how innocuous these signs may seem, the social message they send is harmful.