“There’s no way in hell we’re going to take those signs down”
Heaven forbid atheists show any tolerance for people of faith or that nasty, three-letter-word, “God”.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is raising a stink over a highway road sign that has been a staple of Hondo, Texas since the 1930’s. Why? Because the sign refers to Hondo as “God’s Country”.
The Foundation penned a letter to Hondo’s Mayer, Jim Danner, demanding the signs be removed.
“There’s no way in hell we’re going to take those signs down,” said Mayor Danner early last week. “They’d probably run me out of town if I took those signs down.”
The San Antonio Express-News reported:
Foundation Co-President Anne Laurie Gaylor referenced the establishment clause of the First Amendment in a letter sent to the city last week. She wrote that the city-owned signs on public property “convey government preference for religion over nonreligion” and send “the message that nonbelievers are not welcome in the city.”
“The message assumes a common god, yet imagine the public outrage had the city posted a sign that said, “This is Vishnu’s Country,” Gaylor told Danner in the letter. “It is equally inflammatory and inappropriate to post a sign dedicating a city to the god of the bible.”
A formal response from the city is being drafted by its legal counsel, but Danner left no doubt that he’ll oppose removing the recently restored placards beside U.S. 90 that say, in full, “This Is God’s Country — Please Don’t Drive Through It Like Hell.”
He predicted that the people of Hondo would back that stance.
“I think when they find out we received that letter, we’ll have total support from the community to keep them,” Danner said.
In 2009, the signs were removed temporarily for a highway construction project. Local residents were happy to see their return in 2012 at the project’s completion. Even the local gardening club donated to the landscaping of the newly reinstalled “God’s Country” landmarks:
The Foundation is a national organization that trolls small towns for references to higher powers:
Frank Garza, the city’s attorney, said his preliminary view is that the signs encourage driver safety, as opposed to endorsing a religion.
City Manager Kim Davis said, “They’re alleging that the signs make anyone who is not a Christian feel unwelcome. The mere fact that we often have people come to town to take a picture with the signs would say otherwise.”
The foundation, based in Wisconsin, is a national organization dedicated to the separation of state and church, with 24,000 nonreligious members nationwide, including almost 1,000 in Texas.
Hondo residents (and non-residents) are rallying together to support the long-standing landmarks.
“If you don’t like it, don’t read it or drive around,” said Stacey Cross, who was inside a store where T-shirts featuring the full sign hang on the wall. “There are other ways around the city,” reported KTSA.
If a fight’s what the Foundation wanted, a fight’s what they’ll get.
Follow Kemberlee on Twitter @kemberleekayeDONATE
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.