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Lauryn Seering

Lauryn Seering

Robinson Elementary School in Dawsonville, Ga., painted over part of a verse from an Anglican hymn after FFRF Staff Attorney Patrick Elliot contacted the attorney for the Dawson County School District in a Sept. 13 letter on behalf of a concerned parent.
The verse, which read, “All Creatures Great and Small. The Lord God Made Them All,” was painted above a cafeteria mural depicting a variety of animals and insects.

In December, the parent notified FFRF that the religious portion of the hymn had been painted over with a new message. The mural now reads, “All Creatures Great and Small. Robinson Elem. Loves Them All.”

The mural was the latest violation in Dawson County Schools that FFRF has rectified. In January 2013, FFRF received confirmation from the school system that it would not grant academic credit to students for attending an unaccredited Christian Learning Center, as had been reported in the news.

In February 2013, a parent alerted FFRF about a Latin cross painted on a large boulder beside the high school football field. After receiving a letter from Elliott, the school painted over the cross.

%734 %America/Chicago, %2014

Kiss me, I'm an atheist

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has contacted Pinellas Park Mayor Sandra Bradbury to insist that a bible be removed from a dais in the city council chamber, among other complaints.

On behalf of local FFRF Members, FFRF Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel sent several letters, the first on June 12, outlining why the bible display is divisive and unconstitutional. "Not only is the city council sending a message of endorsement for Christianity over other religions and non religion," Seidel states, "but display of this King James Bible sends a message of endorsement of one particular Christian sect over all others.”

Former Fire Chief of Pinellas Park, Doug Lewis, told FOX 13, "The Bible was given to the city by the Kiwanis Club, I believe when the building was dedicated. They feel it's part of City Hall, as being part of the dedication ceremony, and it's become part of the history of the building.

This is one of several violations FFRF has requested the city to stop, including: prayers opening city council meetings, literature about a Catholic Church's upcoming events being advertised in local water bills and concerns over whether or not a Christian school that is renting from the city is receiving preferential treatment.

Seidel sent another letter on January 13, requesting the city promptly address these ongoing violations. We need your help to educate this Florida city.

TAKE ACTION:

Please email or phone city council members to explain why the government ought to remove the bible and stay out of the business of religious endorsement altogether. You may simply email or phone the mayor or, if you wish, cc the others listed below. If you live in the area please consider addressing the city council.

Mayor: Sandra L. Bradbury
City of Pinellas Park
5141 78th Avenue N.
Pinella Park, FL 33781
(727) 541-0706

Vice-Mayor: Jerry Mullins
Councilman: Rick Butler
Councilman: William E. "Ed" Taylor
Councilwoman: Patricia F. Johnson

The City Council meets Thursday, Jan. 23 at 7:30PM: The city council meets every two weeks.

First Floor of the Council Chambers
5141 78th Avenue N. 
Pinella Park, FL 33781
(727) 541-0706

For more information on city council meetings contact City Clerk: Diane Corna

TALKING POINTS:
Your own words are best. But feel free to copy this paragraph:

Please remove the bible from the city council dais, which sends an unconstitutional message of endorsement of religion by the city government. It excludes nonbelievers and non-Christians, such as myself, who now comprise more than 20% of the population. The bible display belongs in a church, not at the seat of city government. Pinellas Park is not a theocracy, and its government is predicated on our secular constitution.

ADDITIONAL MEDIA:
Atheist Group Challenges Bible Display at Fla. City Hall, Calls It a Violation of the US Constitution

Compiled by Lauryn Seering

%710 %America/Chicago, %2014

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