HAWKINS, TX (KLTV) – An East Texas mayor wants to keep Jesus on a sign that sits on city property. In Hawkins, an 18-ft wide purple and gold sign reads, in block letters, “Jesus Welcomes You to Hawkins.”
The slogan faces Highway 80 and Blackborn Street near the Hawkins city limits.
The reference to Jesus drew scrutiny from non-profit organization Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) in Wisconsin.
According to the June 1 letter to the Hawkins city council from FFRF’s attorney, Sam Grover, the organization objects to the sign because it “conveys a government preference for religion over nonreligion.”
Jesus has been welcoming visitors to Hawkins, TX, for years. Mayor Will Rogers–Yup. Evidently that’s his real name.–suggested the sign in 2011, before he even was mayor. He said later that the local High School class made it for the city after local churches and businesses contributed money to pay for it.
According to him, it doesn’t promote religion. He says “Jesus is not a religion” and then immediately contradicts himself by saying “Jesus is in every religion.” He adds that Jesus is “the greatest Dude.”
The FFRF asked the city to consider how people would feel if the sign said “Muhammad Welcomes You to Hawkins” or “No God Welcomes You to Hawkins.”
Hawkins sign shows a preference for religion over non-religion, and it’s on city property.
Mayor Rogers makes the FFRF sound like a big bully by his claim that the city doesn’t have the money to fight it and that he thinks the city could win. Then he demonstrates again that he doesn’t even understand the request by stating that Jesus doesn’t belong to any particular religion. That’s obviously not the point, since the FFRF complained that it shows a preference for religion over non-religion.
FFRF suggested a simple compromise: to remove the sign and give it to a church. A church is permitted to display it on their own property, but a city is not. What’s so hard to understand about that?
Religious people in general just can’t seem to understand that the government at any level–federal, state, or local–is not allowed to have an opinion about God. Or any god. Or any religious matter. Letting the government do so has already lead to things like the stupid “blue laws” that forbid sales of certain things on Sunday (although most of them have finally been repealed after decades of inconvenience to shoppers). And if it leads to that, it can eventually lead to far worse. Possibly even the very kind of religious confusion and intolerance that drove many of our forefathers out of Europe 200 to 300 years ago.
That’s exactly why our Constitution forbids any establishment of religion. Not just a “state religion,” but any establishment of religion. Read your Constitution, Hawkins.