Although a sign has been featured at the heart of a city for decades, the California location is facing pressure to remove the church directory. Because the Freedom from Religion Foundation discovered an image of the sign, the Wisconsin-based religious rights organization hopes to fight the California city and take a stand against the “politically incorrect” language on the directory.
Coronado, California has been proud to share the church directory sign for decades. But now the Freedom from Religion Foundation demanded that the city of Coronado remove the sign erected inside Spreckels Park because it offends some locals.
Just last month, the Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey gave into the FFRF and said that he’d be taking down the church sign and replacing it with something more inclusive. The problem with the sign is that it lists only Christian churches, but not the non-religious and non-Christian groups.
“This redesign will ensure our signage is informative and representative by incorporating our community’s civic, social, faith-based and philanthropic organizations,” said Mayor Bailey, as quoted by the Coronado Times. “I understand this is a sensitive topic. However, a new directory/signage will be reinstalled after this project is complete and it will be inclusive of all organizations, including our faith-based ones.”
The sign, which was crafted from California wood, stands at the prominent intersection of Orange Avenue and Sixth Street. But since the directory “raises serious constitutional concerns under the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment” because it only lists Christian organizations,” the FFRF believes it should be replaced with something more inclusive.
“FFRF is thankful that the city of Coronado recognizes these constitutional concerns and is taking action to avoid the appearance of religious endorsement,” said FFRF Attorney Liz Cavell. “We appreciate that the city’s decision shows respect for all of its citizens — religious and nonreligious — by remaining neutral toward religion.”
Other groups believe that Coronado should be able to highlight their Christian organizations exclusively. At the forefront of that fight, the head of the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund, Charles LiMandri, already offered to help Coronado defend the sign against the FFRF’s alleged attack on it.
During his tell-all interview with the Union-Tribune, LiMandri explained that he felt the directory should remain standing until it falls over by the force of God, and if it is removed prematurely, it “could be a violation by showing unwarranted hostility toward religion. I’m not sure at this point why they need to do anything.”
The people of Coronado are split on the decision. The Christian population of the city does not see any problem with the sign. However, those who are not Christian or who do not practice religion simply feel that they want their organizations and religious groups featured on the sign as well. Right now it only showcases the Christian groups, and those not part of those groups feel that theirs should be showcased with pride as well.
Do you think that the sign should be updated to feature all the religious, spiritual, and non-Christian groups making their home in Coronado? Or should it remain the same?