A group of atheists, freethinkers and agnostics in a small Wisconsin town is calling for the removal of two welcome signs put up 50 years ago.
The signs read: “The Churches of Oconomowoc Welcome You.”
The Freedom From Religion Foundation maintained that the signs are not neutral toward all faiths, and therefore they were unconstitutional.
“It endorses religion over non-religion and Christianity over all other faiths,” the foundation’s attorney, Ryan Jayne, wrote in a letter to town leaders.
Speaking to Fox 6, Jayne said: “I’m sure they have the best intentions but it sends a message that you are not a favorite citizen because the favorite citizens are Christian citizens and the second problem is it violates the constitution.”
Speaking to Lake Country Now, Jayne stated that if the signs were promoting Islam, the town’s residents would not be as supportive.
“I think a lot of Christians would understand the problem with that,” he said. “Because Christianity is the majority religion, I think it’s often difficult for people who are in that majority to understand why it feels that way.”
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Mayor David Nold told Lake County Now that the town was consulting with their attorneys to confirm whether the signs are on public property and if they actually are – if they must come down.
The local residents are not happy with the group’s demand, and some support using public funds to fight them.
“That’s uh, that’s I can’t think of a word. What’s wrong with that? You welcome everybody,” Jerry Johnson said.
The Institute for Law & Liberty wrote a letter to the town council encouraging them to stand their ground.
“It takes something more than a sign put up by private parties reflecting a message of welcome to inflict constitutional injury,” President Richard Esenberg wrote.