The problem with Bettie D. Robertson Memorial Park in Collins, Mississippi is that there’s a display featuring the words “City of Collins” that’s just above a picture of Jesus and a bible verse.
Oh. And there’s a display of Jesus walking on water.
And another of Jesus carrying a cross.
Wait: I’m not done yet.
There’s also a miniature church, a collection of three large crosses, and a display of an angel on a barn holding up a sign that says “Gloria in Excelsis Deo.”
“All of the above religious displays are unconstitutional,” wrote FFRF Staff Attorney Elizabeth Cavell in a letter to the city on Oct. 19. “The Establishment Clause prohibits government sponsorship of religious messages,” she said, and in particular, “the religious significance of the Latin cross is unambiguous and indisputable.”
“In its current state, Bettie C. Robertson Memorial Park is tremendously unwelcoming to non-Christian citizens,” Cavell wrote. “Citizens of all faiths and no faith have an equal right to use city parks without being surrounded by symbols promoting any one religion. A city cannot have a ‘Christian’ park.”
It’s also worth noting that while some of these displays are up for a “Christmas in the Park” festival, many of them are up all year long — and they’ve been there for 15 years.
If you’re the city and you have to defend yourself, where do you even start? I know it’s Mississippi, but didn’t anyone ever have the temerity to say, “I think we might be crossing multiple lines here…”?
FFRF is calling for the immediate removal of the Christian displays. They never should have gone up to begin with and they shouldn’t be there now.