A sign that states: "Jesus Welcomes You To Hawkins" has stirred controversy in Hawkins, Texas.
The large sign reportedly sits on city property, which prompted the Freedom From Religion Foundation to send a letter to the city council calling for its removal.
KMOO notes that the FFRF letter stated:
"The 'Jesus Welcomes You to Hawkins' sign sends a message to the City’s citizens that the Hawkins government is endorsing and compelling a belief in a particular god. By endorsing such a belief, the sign sends the message to nonadherents that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community, and an accompanying message to adherents that they are insiders, favored numbers..."
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During a city council meeting on June 15, several residents spoke up. Mwere in favor of not moving the 2011 sign (video below).
According to KLTV, Hawkins Mayor Will Rogers defended the sign:
"What violation is it for someone to welcome you into a town? If you don't believe that Jesus existed then he would be fiction. If he's fiction, and you want to remove his name from everything, then you have to remove every fiction name from across the country. That means we couldn't say, 'Superman welcomes you to town.'"
Superman is a fictional, character who doesn't represent a religion.
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Rogers added that no action will be taken to move the sign for now. A study will be done to determine if the sign is actually on city property.