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City drops Gospel Fest sponsorship (August 19, 2015)

The city of Jonesboro, Ga., ended its unconstitutional involvement in Gospel Fest after getting an FFRF complaint letter. concert. While claiming that it disagreed with FFRF’s position, the city officially “relinquished sponsorship of the concert.”

The event was advertised with Christian imagery on the city’s Facebook page. Residents were encouraged to “enjoy some all night Saturday revelry in anticipation of a feverous day of Sunday worship and prayer.”

Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel cited state and federal constitutional restrictions and court precedent that bar city participation.

Steven Fincher, attorney for the city, responded that the city had turned control of the concert over to two ministers’ groups, and noted that the city did not own the property or the stage where the concert was to be held. The city also removed all ads for the festival and informed residents by email of the new hosts.

Jonesboro, in central Georgia, has about 4,600 residents.