A Kansas post office was forced to take down a “God Bless America” banner Jan. 27 after receiving complaints it was unconstitutional.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation and other local residents complained the motto violated the separation between church and state, the Salina Post reports.
Postal workers purchased and posted the 12-foot-long banner after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
A U.S. Post Office spokeswoman says this violated their policy. She explained post offices across the U.S. are only allowed to display official government notices on their property.
Some applaud the post office for their stance.
"Employees are free to ask God to bless America all they want on their own time,” said Madeline Ziegler of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, reports KOAM. “The problem comes when they ask their government employer to endorse their personal religious beliefs by plastering them on the side of the federal building.”
For some, moves like these feel fair given they believe Kansas is already a very Christian state.
“Growing up in very small-town Kansas, I was constantly bombarded with the idea that Christianity was the one “true” religion… I have been told many times that I could never be a good person without “God” in my life,” Kristina Beverlin writes in an essay for the Freedom From Religion Foundation. “While I am sure that Kansas will remain a mostly “Christian state” for quite some time, I will continue to…work to encourage those around me to look at the world with an open mind.”
However, some are upset by this move.
"Each one of us put a screw in to represent that we put it up there and what we felt for the country,” said Vietnam veteran and former post office worker Doug Brisendine, who was one of those who helped put up the banner.
"It's sad, it's sad that they feel like that this is something that they understand when they don't,” former Postmaster Ed Hinde said.
Kansas congresswoman Lynn Jenkins said she is also saddened by the move and believes the post office was forced to “bend to the whims of an outside organization."
“I urge the United States Postal Service to rethink their decision, as this banner means more than just words to our veterans and community members,” she said.