FFRF complaint downs religious flag

flag2An Ohio county has removed a religious flag from a public building following a complaint from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a national organization dedicated to separation of state and church.

The Shelby County Annex in Sidney, Ohio, was displaying an “Appeal to Heaven” flag in a window adjacent to the front entrance and above the payment drop box. The flag is associated with the Appeal to Heaven network, a sectarian Christian movement, and flying it was an endorsement of evangelical Christianity, FFRF asserted.

“No secular purpose, no matter how sincere, will detract from the overall message that the flag stands for Christianity and its display promotes Christianity,” FFRF Diane Uhl Legal Fellow Ryan Jayne wrote in a letter last month to Shelby County Commissioners. “The display of this patently religious symbol on county property confers government endorsement of Christianity, a blatant violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.” 

FFRF asked for the flag to be taken down.

In a recent reply, Julie Ehemann, president of the Shelby County Board of Commissioners, assured FFRF that this had indeed been done. “The Shelby County Commissioners have sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America and the state of Ohio, and they take these oaths seriously,” she responded

FFRF is delighted.

“Religious symbols have no place on government property,” says FFRF Co-President Dan Barker. “We are glad that county officials have demonstrated that their allegiance is to a secular godless Constitution.”

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has 23,000 nonreligious members all over the country, including more than 500 in Ohio.


Freedom From Religion Foundation

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