Action Alert!

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Stop 'In God We Trust' Logo Change in Kissimmee, Florida!

July 28, 2009

Important Update!

The Kissimmee City Commission, the night of July 28, voted (4 to 1) not to move forward with the proposal to change its city logo to include "In God We Trust." Commissioner Otero wanted to proceed with logo changes. Please thank the City Commissioners that voted to protect the separation between state and church in Kissimmee:

Kissimmee City Commission
101 N. Church Street
Kissimmee FL 34741-5054

Mayor Jim Swan, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Vice Mayor Jerry Gemskie, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Mayor Pro-Tem Cheryl L. Grieb, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Commissioner Carlos L. Irizarry, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Original Content

Please object to the proposal before the City Commission of Kissimmee, Florida, to modify its city logo to include "In God We Trust." Commissioner Art Otero recommended this logo change to voice objection to the Obama administration's "socialist" leadership of the country. Otero said: "This nation has been moving toward more liberal postures such as homosexuality, gay marriage, abortion and the legalization of marijuana. I'm against that way of thinking. Those are not the values upon which this nation was founded. I think we need to fight for the values we're losing." Kissimmee's Mayor, Jim Swan, said he would personally pay $250 to engrave the phrase onto the wooden seal in the commission chambers. But over time the logo change would cost taxpayers about $200,000. The five-member Commission is likely to vote on this change next month.

"In God We Trust" was a latter-day motto adopted in 1956, at the height of the "Red Scare." (Read more about "In God We Trust"). The motto excludes all nontheists and, in its endorsement of one "God," also excludes adherents of polytheistic faiths such as Buddhism and Hinduism. This preference for monotheistic religions blatantly violates the constitutional principle of separation of state and church. FFRF recently filed a lawsuit objecting to the engraving of "In God We Trust" on the Capitol Visitor Center in Washington, D.C. As in that case, Kissimmee's "God" endorsement "excludes and treats as outsiders... as many as 15% of all adults, who are not religious, i.e., atheists, agnostics, skeptics and freethinkers, none of whom possesses a belief in a god; the mandated language diminishes nonbelievers by making god-belief synonymous with citizenship."

Some useful talking points might include: Kissimmee is neither an exclusively Christian nor religious community; the motto specifically excludes nonbelievers and non-monotheistic religions; and the excessive cost, ($200,000), that will burden taxpayers, is outrageous and fiscally irresponsible, especially during the current recession.

Please write a succinct, polite, firm, and signed message to Mayor Jim Swan and the other City Commissioners. Letters to the Editor are also helpful. Concentrate on one or two major points, and, for maximum effectiveness, write as an individual, not as someone responding to this action alert. (Do not forward our action alert message to the target!) We are pleased to receive "blind" duplicates of your letters or responses by email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , Freedom From Religion Foundation.

Contact

(Note: When you write public officials, your message becomes part of the public record, so please do not say anything that might reflect poorly on FFRF.)

Mayor Jim Swan
101 N. Church Street
Kissimmee FL 34741-5054
Phone: (407)973-5226
Fax: (407)847-8369
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Vice Mayor Jerry Gemskie
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mayor Pro-Tem Cheryl L. Grieb
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Commissioner Carlos L. Irizarry
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Commissioner Art Otero
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Media Contacts

Orlando Sentinel
Letters to the Editor
633 N. Orange Ave.
Orlando FL 32801-1349
Fax: (407)420-5286
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
(Note: Letters must be signed with an address and phone number, and kept under 250 words for publication.)

The Miami Herald
The Reader's Forum
One Herald Plaza
Miami FL 33132
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Fax: (305)376-8950

The News-Journal
PO Box 2831
Daytona Beach FL 32120-2831
Fax: (386)258-1577
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
(Note: Include name, address and phone number. "Clear, brief letters on a single subject are most likely to be published. Please include your letter in the body of the e-mail. Attached files may not arrive intact. Your address and phone number will not be published.")

For More Information

Read Orlando Sentinel Coverage
Read Orlando Sentinel's Editorial Opposing the Logo Change
Read Miami Herald coverage

Action Alert by Bonnie Gutsch

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., is a national association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics) that has been working since 1978 to keep church and state separate.
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FFRF is a non-profit, educational organization. All dues and donations are deductible for income-tax purposes.

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