Freedom From Religion" Returns to Grand Junction, Colo.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation, which placed a "Praise Darwin" billboard in Grand Junction last February, has returned to the quiet Colorado town this month with a new billboard message. The red-white-and-blue 8'x14' foot message, aimed at City Hall, is posted on North Street and says: "Keep Religion OUT of Government."
The national Foundation, a state/church watchdog with 14,000 members nationwide and more than 400 members in Colorado, is working with area members and Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers, to ask local government officials to stop praying on government time. (See FFRF's two letters of complaint to Mesa County: from FFRF Staff Attorney Rebecca Kratz and from Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor).
FFRF member and local activist Anne Landman says:
"This billboard will raise awareness among tourists and residents alike that in our area, we are still struggling with local governments' refusal to separate church and state in public meetings. It represents the growing number of people in our area who want government to maintain strict neutrality in matters of religion, and are concerned that local governments are not heeding that desire."
Annie Laurie Gaylor, Foundation co-president, noted that the Supreme Court's own guidelines on government prayer permit such religious ritual only under narrow circumstances, such as if the prayer is nonsectarian. Most prayers that begin Mesa County and Grand Junction City meetings invoke Jesus and Christian beliefs.
"The County's argument isn't with local secularists or with the Foundation, it is with the Supreme Court. America is a nation of laws, and court precedent should be honored. The framers didn't feel the need to pray when they adopted our godless Constitution. Why do local officials need to pray over sewers and liquor licenses?"
The Foundation's "Praise Darwin: Evolve Beyond Belief" billboard was similarly placed to send a message to City Hall, after Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers' proposal to proclaim a day to honor Darwin on his bicentennial birthdate was not adopted by the city.
The Foundation's national billboard campaign in October is also visiting Detroit, where seven billboards are currently up, Indianapolis, and Las Vegas. Three billboards put up this week in Las Vegas warn to "Beware of Dogma," three ask passersby to "Imagine no Religion" and four honor Charles Darwin.
To help with FFRF's billboard and bus sign campaign visit: ffrf.org/busbillboard