Atheist Group Protests Town's Religious Water Tower

| by Jimmy King
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, in 2007Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, in 2007

An atheist group reportedly filed a complaint against an Oklahoma town’s water tower. 

The Freedom From Religion Foundation holds that the tower bearing the name “First Baptist Church” is illegal.  FFRF spokesperson Andrew Seidel said that he thinks Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, is officially endorsing the Baptist religion, reports Fox News.

“At some point that name is going to have to come off the water tower,” said Seidel.  “The water tower is in fact, government owned, and on government land. And as such, it can’t be advertising for any religion.”

The atheist organization said that the constitution prohibits the current water tower display.

“The Supreme Court has spoken very clearly on this, and it has said the government can’t promote one religion or church over another, or religion over non-religion,” Seidel told KTUL.

But Broken Arrow says that the display is legal, and does not endorse the Christian/Baptist religion.

“It wasn’t intended to endorse any sort of religion; it was simply to recognize them for the land contribution. It was a contract,” said city legal representative Beth Anne Wilkening on KOTV.

The First Baptist Church reportedly donated the land used to build the water tower to the town of Broken Arrow, reports KTUL.  The city agreed to display the church’s name on the tower in exchange for the land.

This is not the first time that the Freedom of Religion Foundation has taken issue with religious displays on public land.

On March 28, the FFRF erected a secular display in downtown Chicago next to a Catholic display celebrating Easter, reports FFRF.

The FFRF said that its “In Reason We Trust” banner “is designed to counter what is believed to be days of round-the-clock prayer and evangelism in Daley Plaza by the Thomas More Society, a Catholic Group, which has preached in the plaza every Easter since 2011.”

Sources: Fox News, KTUL / Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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