FFRF 'welcomes' change in Sylvania

Alabama city removes biblical signs

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has convinced the town of Sylvania, Ala., to remove four biblical welcome signs along heavily traveled city routes.

Sylvania officials have confirmed that the signs will come down today.

FFRF is a national state/church watchdog with over 17,500 members nationwide, including Alabama members and a state chapter, the Alabama Freethought Association.

The "Welcome" signs contained a biblical quotation from Ephesians 4:5: "One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism." The entire message was sealed with Mayor Mitchell Dendy's stamp of approval.

FFRF Staff Attorney Patrick Elliott took issue with this flagrant blending of state and church in an April 17 letter.

"The Sylvania 'welcome' signs are not welcoming; they affiliate the government with one religion, Christianity, and exclude others. The endorsement of the tenets of one religion on government signs is unconstitutional. No court would uphold this blatant violation of the Constitution," wrote Elliott in a letter to Dendy.

Elliott called this violation egregious. The signs directly quote the New Testament, endorsing a fundamental part of the Christian faith. Travelers and taxpayers alike should not be forced to view Christian verses each time they pass city signs.

"Whether to believe or not believe in 'One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism' is a personal decision protected under our First Amendment as a paramount matter of conscience. Local governments have no place in making position statements on such matters," noted Elliott.

This is not the first time FFRF has remedied state/church violations in northern Alabama. This year FFRF has filed complaints with Marshall County, Marshall County Schools and Jackson County. School prayer, school board prayer and the notorious 'Bible Man' prompted FFRF to take action in those counties. 

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity, is the nation's largest association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics), and has been working since 1978 to keep religion and government separate.

FFRF is a non-profit, educational organization. All dues and donations are deductible for income-tax purposes.

FFRF has received a 4 star rating from Charity Navigator

 

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