Four years ago, this was the way Sylvania, Alabama greeted visitors to the town:
How the hell did Ephesians 4:5 get in there…?
I don’t know, but four different signs used that same Biblical message to welcome people — and all four were illegal.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent Mayor Mitchell Dendy a letter explaining the problem at the time, adding that the sign wasn’t even welcome from a Christian standpoint:
The signs are not even representative of the beliefs of all Christians. To some, the Epistle to the Ephesians is a fraud, as many biblical scholars have said that Paul of Tarsus did not write it.
Now a city official wants to put them back up.
Because Alabama, that’s why.
“I intend for that Bible verse to go back up on our sign or some statement of God,” says former councilman Tony Goolesby.
“We never heard another word from [FFRF] and so the bible verse was on our signs when we left office in 2012,” says Goolesby.
Goolesby feels the council should not have caved to people who do not even live in this state.
FFRF isn’t based in Alabama, but they only sent the letter because a citizen pointed out the issue to them. That’s how they work.
This whole controversy shows how Christians like Goolesby can’t be trusted to do the right thing. They obeyed the law when a church/state separation group spelled out the law for them… and then ignored it the moment they left. They’re like an immature kid reaching into the cookie jar the second mom looks away.
FFRF didn’t file a lawsuit four years ago. But maybe that threat is just what they need to play by the rules.
So far, the mayor insists the Bible verse isn’t going back up. Not because it would be wrong to do so, but because the city “couldn’t afford a court challenge.” It’s a cowardly defense, but it allows him to save face in the community.
(Large portions of this article were published earlier. Thanks to Tim for the link. This article was edited to correct when the Bible verse was finally taken down.)