Ohio building mural earns FFRF’s censure

 1Findlay

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is giving the thumbs down — because of the U.S. Constitution — to a religious mural in an Ohio building.

A concerned citizen recently contacted FFRF about a religious mural in the Findlay Municipal Building. This mural features a large eagle accompanied by a biblical verse. The verse from Psalms 91 reads: "Under His Wings Shall You Find Refuge"

The mural is unconstitutional, FFRF alerts the city of Findlay.

"The Establishment Clause in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits government sponsorship of religious messages," FFRF Legal Director Rebecca Markert writes to the city of Findlay. "The Supreme Court has said, time and again, that the 'First Amendment mandates government neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion.'" 

It is inappropriate for the county to display this religious message on the wall of the Findlay Municipal Building because it conveys government support for religion, FFRF asserts. A reasonable observer would view the text as an endorsement of a specific religion by the city of Findlay, since the mural calls for viewers to seek refuge in the Christian god.

The municipal building serves all citizens regardless of belief or nonbelief, FFRF reminds the city, and with this display, Findlay appears to be preaching to the citizens required to come to the building. The message alienates the 24 percent of adult Americans who are nonreligious. It excludes non-Christian residents of Findlay and expresses a preference for the Christian faith in a government building responsible for administering and upholding our laws.

"Non-Christians shouldn't have to be subjected to a sectarian message in order to come to the building," says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. "With the fast-changing demographics of our country, this number is increasing day by day."

FFRF insists that the city of Findlay remove the religious mural from the building as soon as possible.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a nationwide nonprofit organization that represents more than 32,000 members and has 20 chapters across the country, including more than 800 members and a chapter in Ohio. FFRF's purposes are to protect the constitutional separation between church and state, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.

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

FFRF is a member of the Secular Coalition for America

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