FFRF: Jersey borough needs secular motto

FFRF wants a New Jersey borough to get rid of its unmistakably religious seal and motto. The official seal of the borough of Clayton depicts a church and a Latin cross, with the accompanying motto reading: “A Great Place to Live and Play, Work and Pray.”

The inclusion of a cross and church on the official seal and the declaration that the borough is a great place to pray violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, FFRF asserts.

The borough’s logo signals an endorsement of Christianity and prayer.

“Federal courts have ruled that similar seals violate the Establishment Clause,” wrote FFRF Legal Fellow Madeline Ziegler in a letter last September to Clayton Mayor Tom Bianco. The borough responded to FFRF that the seal and the motto were nothing more than a reflection of its history, citing no law to back up its assertions. Ziegler contends in a follow-up letter that such an argument is untenable.

“The federal courts have consistently held that religious symbolism on official city seals is unconstitutional, even in the face of claims that the religious portions are in some way historical,” Ziegler writes.

Freedom From Religion Foundation