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Small-Town Atheist Group's Demand Causes Big-Time Controversy - Remove Welcome Sign

Disagreements over religious beliefs are littered throughout world history. In fact, many of the largest wars in recorded history stem from differing sides that can’t wrap their heads around the fact that not everyone believes as they do.

Those religious disagreements still play out in our times, and sometimes they manifest themselves on a much smaller scale. Our latest example comes from the small town of Oconomowoc, Wisconsin.

As Fox News shares, the town has its fair share of atheists, agnostics and freethinkers, and members of that group are aggrieved. What are they so upset about? The churches in town had the audacity to post a welcome message, and the group feels it should be taken down because it’s offensive to their beliefs.

"The Churches of Oconomowoc Welcome You," reads the sign.

As the Freedom From Religion Foundation sees it, that’s unacceptable. In fact, the group claims that it’s unconstitutional to boot.

"It endorses religion over non-religion and Christianity over all other faiths," according to FFRF attorney Ryan Jayne.

You guessed it - the group is threatening a lawsuit if the signs are not removed.

"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," Jayne continued.

These aren’t new signs, but rather ones that have been posted for some 50 years. So why the grievance now? The group is reportedly on a national crusade to eradicate public displays of the Christian faith, and they aim to get the ball rolling by targeting communities that don’t have the resources to fight back.

How noble. For a parallel, Jayne points out that residents would be upset if the signs touted Islam or some other religion.

"I think a lot of Christians would understand the problem with that," he continued. "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."

Perhaps, but that’s a whole different kettle of fish. This is a simple welcome sign we’re talking about, not a call to action to come in and go to confession right away. As you would expect, local residents are not pleased with the group’s efforts to grandstand at the expense of their small town.

"That's uh, that's I can't think of a word. What's wrong with that? You welcome everybody," said one resident.

"It takes something more than a sign put up by private parties reflecting a message of welcome to inflict constitutional injury," noted Wisconsin-based Institute for Law & Liberty president Richard Esenberg, who wrote a letter urging the town council to stand firm.

We’ll echo Esenberg’s sentiments and hope that the town stands firm. If they find they do not possess the resources to fight back, there are plenty of organizations that would gladly help them out.

The FFRF is perfectly entitled to their beliefs, but there’s absolutely no need to resort to bully tactics to ensure they’re being heard.

Source: Fox News
Photos: Fox 6 Screenshots,, CBS 58

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