James Fouts, mayor of Warren, Michigan, announced he would distribute free posters saying “In God We Trust” after the city lost a lawsuit over its banning of an atheist resident's “reason station” on city property.
The lawsuit, brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, cost the city $100,000 in costs, damages and fees. It also mandated tolerance of the "reason station" display in the same way the mayor has permitted a “prayer station” to operate for years, reported C&G Newspapers.
Fouts, who will make the posters available to the public through his office, did not shy away from admitting his decision is related to the ruling.
“To some degree it is,” Fouts said. “Obviously, I was concerned about the court order that forced the city of Warren to have a reason station within our City Hall atrium,” Fouts said. “The prayer station had been functioning for years without any problems or any controversy. They’re now allowed to have an atheist station under the euphemistic guise of a reason station.”
“The mayor’s continually tried to promote Christian religious beliefs, and it sounds like that’s just another attempt,” said Douglas Marshall, the resident who sued the city. “He doesn’t understand the First Amendment. Government is supposed to be completely neutral when it comes to religious beliefs.”
Marshall wanted the opportunity to distribute atheist literature and have the opportunity to engage in philosophical debates with people who passed by the station, reported Christian Today.
“Freedom From Religion is not a religion,” wrote Fouts, in a letter to Marshall posted on the city’s website. “It has no tenets, no place of worship and no congregation. To my way of thinking, your group is strictly an anti-religion group intending to deprive all organized religions of their constitutional freedoms or at least discourage the practice of religions. The city of Warren cannot allow this.”
Fouts, noting that “In God We Trust” was established as the national motto in the 1950s, said he believes his office won’t be the only one distributing posters.
“I think the city of Warren will become the most prominent and the most visible and maybe the largest city to do this,” Fouts stated. “I’m not alone in doing this.”
Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons