Michigan Mayor: Giving Atheists Equal Treatment Like Favoring the Nazis or KKK
After excluding atheist groups from setting up a “reason station” next to a “prayer station” on public land, a Michigan mayor defended his move by comparing atheists to the Nazis and Ku Klux Klan.
The American Civil Liberties Union and two secular organizations have sued the city of Warren and its mayor, Jim Fouts, after he denied a resident the right to set up a booth in the City Hall atrium.
Since 2009, Fouts has allowed a religious group to hand out materials and pray with City Hall visitors but rejected Freedom From Religion’s Douglas Marshall’s request to set up a booth for atheism and free thinking nearby.
The lawsuit claims that Fouts violated Marshall’s First Amendment rights.
“Defendants have favored and are favoring religion over nonreligion, and one religious belief over disbelief, in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment,” the suit states.
Fouts complains that this lawsuit is just a part of a “continuing saga by a group of people who, in my opinion, promote conflict rather than resolution and understanding.”
“The city has certain values that I don’t believe are in general agreement with having an atheist station, nor in general agreement with having a Nazi station or Ku Klux Klan station,” Fouts said. “I cannot accept or will not allow a group that is disparaging of another group to have a station here.”