A sign that reads, “Jesus welcomes you to Hawkins” is at the center of controversy in Texas. Christian News Network reports the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) has ordered that the sign must be removed, citing a violation of the First Amendment.
According to a letter from the FFRF, “It is inappropriate and unconstitutional for the City of Hawkins to display the sign… because it conveys both a government preference for religion over nonreligion, and prefers Christianity over other religions. The display of religious messages on public property violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, which prohibits public grounds from advancing, supporting or promoting religion.”
According to Hawkins mayor Will Rogers, the sign was proposed by private citizens including himself before he was an elected official.
Rogers said, “They (FFRF) scare you into believing there’s a boogie man, and we’re going to get you. They want God and Jesus out of our life. I mean that’s what the bottom line is.”
Now the Hawkins city council has voted to remove the sign, after independent contractors determined the sign is situated on publicly owned land.
However, another surveyor argued that the sign is on land that is privately owned by Crowley Funeral Home.
The confusion continues as Jesus Christ Open Altar Church is reportedly in the process of purchasing the land from the funeral home.
The deal is supposed to be official by Oct. 25. Until then, landowners are guarding the sign after reported threats of vandalism. The landowners say they will have city officials who attempt to remove the sign arrested.
Publication date: September 28, 2015