The atrium in the Warren, Michigan city hall hosts several “stations” where citizens may promote and share ideas, one of the regular stations is a “prayer station” however when Douglas Marshall requested a booth for an Atheists’ reason station the mayor, Jim Fouts, turned him down flat.
This resulted in the ACLU and other groups including one that Marshall belongs to the Freedom from Religion Foundation to bring suit against the city and Mayor Fouts in federal court based on the First Amendment.
The complaint filed with the court says in part:
“When the government opens a forum for private speech, it must treat viewpoints equally, and it is strictly forbidden from favoring religious expression over non-religious speech. In this case, the government has opened a forum in which religious speech is allowed, but plaintiff’s atheist speech is prohibited. This is unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination.”
In his arrogance Fouts says that he will not allow an Atheist booth in the atrium just as he would refuse to allow any other “hate group” to have a forum in the atrium:
“The city has certain values that I don’t believe are in general agreement with having an atheist station, nor in general agreement with having a Nazi station or Ku Klux Klan station. I cannot accept or will not allow a group that is disparaging of another group to have a station here.”
The mayor’s stance of course has no basis in reality, Atheists do not hate and will often offer aid to those who are shunned by his Christian organizations, organizations which teach that gays and lesbians as well as Atheists are not to be accepted.
The Mayor and his supporters apparently suffer from a total disconnect from reality as the use hate speech to disparage Marshall and the FFRF as a hate group whose only purpose is to ridicule religion and to interfere with the First Amendment right of believers to worship as they please.
They seem unable to see that what they are accusing Marshall and FFRF of wanting to do is exactly what they are doing.
In his letter to Marshall rejecting his request, Mayor Fouts writes:
“To my way of thinking, your group is strictly an anti-religion group intending to deprive all organized religions of their constitutional freedoms or at least discourage the practice of religion. The City of Warren cannot allow this.”
The Mayor says he is confident that he will win this lawsuit since he has already defeated Marshall and FFRF once before when they requested that they be allowed to place a sandwich board sign in the atrium last Christmas near the Nativity scene. The Mayor said at that time the same things he is saying now, that the sign promoted hatred and infringed on religious freedom. That sign read:
“At this season of The Winter Solstice, let reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.”
This is what passes as hate speech in the enlightened city of Warren, Michigan in the United States of America?
More from AATTP about Atheism in America:
- Mayor Violates Constitution, Tells Atheists: ‘Take Me to F*cking Court, I Don’t Care!’
- Atheists Banned From Placing Humanist Quote Next to Ten Commandments
- Christians Putting Bibles in Schools Flip Out After Atheists Hand Out Humanist Literature!