It’s been very encouraging watching the Winfield City Council (in Alabama) do damage control after Mayor Randy Price (below) encouraged them to pass a Godly resolution declaring Winfield a “City Under God” with God as the city’s “owner.”
The ACLU has written a letter to Price and the council members calling on them to rescind the resolution:
… That the resolution is generic does not matter. Such actions are not inclusive or welcoming of people of all faiths and beliefs and is bad policy. City government should remain neutral on matters of religion.
Our concern is that the resolution has all the appearances of a government act whether or not it has any effect in law. The resolution is an official action of the City. This matter has attracted a great deal of press attention and damage has certainly been done to the principle of separation of Church and State. We believe that remedial measures are required and call upon the City of Winfield to take formal action to rescind the resolution by separate resolution of the City Council.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation has done the same, with a bit more snark:
Of course pandering to the Christian majority is popular — that’s why it’s called pandering. But those who are serious about their faith should be alarmed when politicians cheapen their religion by using it as a political trick designed to score points with voters…
It is not within Winfield’s power to declare a city for the mayor’s particular god. The government must remain neutral on matters of religion. We ask for assurances that Winfield will not issue religious proclamations in the future.
The latest issue of the Marion County Journal-Record has another editorial supporting the resolution and it’s clear the writers don’t get why this is a problem:
Mind you, the atheists on their blogs are having a field day — and not just with Price, but with the [original] editorial as well. “How many errors can you spot in that passage?” one said. “There’s the jump from ceremonial Deism on our currency to government endorsement of Christianity. There’s the admission that this is all pointless (even though, legally speaking, what they’re doing is unconstitutional). There’s the blatant lie about how people are removing God from the public square.”
Funny, if that is a lie, how come you’re jumping up and down so much? The same blogger has also notified the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF). Or so he said.
I’m “jumping up and down” because there are Christians in Winfield using politics to promote their religious beliefs and I, unlike them, respect church/state separation.
And I did notify FFRF. See the letter above.
There’s also this gem in the editorial:
And those atheists who want to make a fuss seem lost that the progression of Christianity over 2,000 years is not based on Jesus and the apostles clammering for recognition, but on the teachings, faith and work seen. The treatment Christians gave during plagues and other disaster, putting themselves at danger when other fled to safety, did as much to advance Christianity. What have the atheists done in this light to advance their cause? What have they done to advance the hope of man?
What have atheists done for humanity? The same things as every other group, with a fraction of the resources. We volunteer, donate money, sacrifice our lives, and do what we can to improve life on this planet, but if you need more concrete examples, here’s a short list of atheists who have made some worthwhile contributions to society.
There seems to be a rise in this country in the number of people who are not concerned with religion or church, as well as those who do not believe in God. Maybe one day, as is said to be the case in Europe, a growing number of our churches will be museums or other renovated spaces.
However, our value system in small-town Alabama is quite different. Mind you, this sort of action can be used to the extreme by either side of the argument, and we fear that is what is going to take place now. Bigger issues should be concentrated on instead of making a big religious war, which, frankly, the atheists appear to want to start.
We didn’t start this. Price and the Winfield City Council started it by pushing their faith onto the whole community. We responded by publicizing and calling them out on it. That’s almost always the case in these stories. Atheists play defense whenever Christians try to merge politics with their religion.
The newspaper editors don’t get it. Mayor Price doesn’t get it. The City Council doesn’t get it. Is there anyone in Winfield who has ever passed a Civics class?
(Thanks to Adam for the link)