After legal battle, ‘reason station’ to go up in Warren, Mich.

City Hall in Warren, Mich., will be a lot more reasonable starting tomorrow.

Douglas Marshall will finally be allowed to set up a “reason station” in the City Hall atrium April 28, following a legal battle for equal treatment.

For years, the city permitted volunteers at a “prayer station” inside City Hall to distribute religious pamphlets and offer to pray and discuss their religious beliefs with passersby. Marshall, a member of FFRF, submitted an application to city officials to reserve atrium space for two days a week to hold a similar reason station, where he would offer to engage in philosophical discussions with those who expressed an interest in a secular belief system.

But less than two weeks after it was submitted, Marshall’s application — although nearly identical to the one submitted by the church sponsoring the prayer station — was rejected by Mayor James Fouts. In his rejection letter, Fouts accused Marshall of “intending to deprive all organized religions of their constitutional freedoms or at least discourage the practice of religion.”

Noting that the atrium was established as a public space for use as a forum by a wide variety of groups and individuals, FFRF, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit on behalf of Marshall. The suit was settled in February, with Warren agreeing to treat nonbelievers and believers equally.

The reason station will be open and staffed starting tomorrow at 11 a.m.

FFRF is a national state/church watchdog with more than 22,000 members, including about 575 in Michigan.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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