Atheists Reach $41,000 Settlement with Tennessee County Sheriff

Chattanooga, TN—American Atheists and Bradley County and the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office have reached a settlement in a federal lawsuit alleging First Amendment violations of the U.S. Constitution by Bradley County and Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson.

As part of settlement agreement, the new official Bradley County Sheriff’s Department Facebook page will not be used to “promote or further any religion, religious organization, religious event or religious belief.” Additionally, the sheriff’s office has decided to not allow any comments on this Facebook page, making it an informational Facebook page only. The office’s original Facebook page was deactivated earlier this year and will be permanently deactivated.

While the county and sheriff admit to no wrongdoing under the agreement, the county will pay a total of $15,000 in damages to American Atheists and the local plaintiffs, Joshua Stevens and Jane Doe, and $26,000 in attorney’s fees. Plaintiffs were represented by attorney Perry Craft of Nashville.

“This settlement is a clear win for the plaintiffs, whose First Amendment rights to free speech and to be free of government establishment of religion were infringed upon,” said Amanda Knief, National Legal and Public Policy Director of American Atheists. We are pleased the sheriff has agreed to do the right thing by no longer using this official government social media account to promote religion.”

“What is unfortunate, is that it took a lawsuit and more than $40,000 in taxpayer money for the county and sheriff to put this common sense policy in place,” Knief said. “We would have preferred that the sheriff allow citizens the freedom to comment and interact with the sheriff’s office on the Facebook page, but we were not able to reach agreement on that during mediation.”

The anonymous Bradley County resident represented by American Atheists added, “I have always said that Constitutional rights are worth fighting for, and I am proud that when tested, I stood by that principle. It was not easy to stand up to the county sheriff and some people in my community who disagreed with me. Despite some negative backlash, I do not regret taking action against government censorship. If you don’t stand up for yourself, you risk losing your rights.”

Sheriff Watson will be allowed to maintain a personal Facebook page that is clearly marked as containing only his personal opinions and not those of the department.

The lawsuit arose in May after Sheriff Watson posted an explicitly religious Easter message on the sheriff’s office’s official Facebook page. American Atheists sent a letter to the sheriff advising against such religious messages on a government-sponsored social media site. The sheriff responded by telling a local newspaper that he intended to use his position as sheriff to proselytize. After posting the local newspaper article on the sheriff’s office’s Facebook page, commenters began criticizing the sheriff’s statements. The sheriff and employees of the sheriff’s department began deleting and blocking critical comments and users who were critical of the sheriff while leaving favorable comments on the governmental Facebook page.

  • 1amStimULater1

    I claim to be an Atheist but how does the elimination of comments on an open forum promote the First Amendment. The First Amendment only provides citizens with protection from government originated remarks. Comments wouldn’t necessarily be “government originated”!

    • Dante

      The Sheriff’s office decided against allowing comments.

      Most likely it is because they had two choices, allow freedom of speech and all comments or none.

      So they went with none.

    • Austin Wright

      A personal facebook page would be one thing, but posting pro-religion comments on page representing the sheriffs department and removing those against, is a violation of the first ammendment since it favors one over the other.

      • 1amStimULater1

        I wasn’t aware they were deleting critical comments. Thank You!

        • Lax

          That aside, in the strictest sense this was a government page, and posting anything pro-religious would be an endorsement of the religion. Something that is in direct conflict with the wording of the First Amendment

          • 1amStimULater1

            That only applies to the comments made by official government entities in the course of their official capacity. It’s still within the First Amendment protections for comments that are NOT derived from government employees that are NOT commenting as part of their official status! If that was the way it is then we couldn’t comment on here!

          • Lax

            Uh yeah. And since this was the official FB page for the Sheriff’s office, and not his personal one, then it’s a comment made by an official government entity.

    • Lance Buckley

      did you read the article? Did you comprehend it?

    • Lance Buckley

      “The sheriff and employees of the sheriff’s department began deleting and blocking critical comments and users who were critical of the sheriff while leaving favorable comments on the governmental Facebook page”.

      As said by others, this was effectively state sponsored censorship, directly infringing 1st amendment rights, and motivated by an unconstitutional religious bias.

  • Sukhamaya Bain

    I am proud of my adoptive homeland, the USA, which is progressing, in spite of some of the political correctness and appeasements involving religions and religious groups that we need to work on.

  • fjpor

    Great win for AA and for all of us.

  • TalesFacingUp

    It’s not just Bradley County

  • disqus_mbkF20E77K

    I’d expect this type of thing from a police officer in a country with Sharia law, but I bet this sheriff can’t even see the parallel.

    • prinefan

      ‘Murca. Buybull belt goobers. No surprise.

  • prinefan

    Man I love this stuff! Shame tax $ were wasted. The sheriff should have had to pay out of his own pocket. We are suing Levy County Fla. over 10 Comm. monument on courthouse lawn. Hope we win.

    • Jeffrey Bradt

      I hope so too!

  • leftocracy

    In my state, atheists can’t hold many elected offices. None of these restrictions would stand up in court, but what atheist would run for one of those offices? They could well find their life in jeopardy. They certainly wouldn’t stand a chance of getting elected.

    • Lax

      They may not be able to get elected, but these claims would, and have, stood up in court. And should they find their life in jeopardy, the religious nuts in your state would find themselves in prison.

    • Andy Parker

      It’s a sad state of affairs where a person’s ability to do a job is not as important as his belief in a deity.

  • Zesh en Ra

    “…the county will pay a total of $15,000 in damages to American Atheists
    and the local plaintiffs, Joshua Stevens and Jane Doe, (so $5,000 each)
    and ***$26,000 IN ATTORNEY’S FEES.***”

    Yeah, I can see for whom this was a victory.

    • missusmoonlight

      It was obviously a symbolic suit, and the fact that it cost the Sheriff’s department is more important than who they have to pay the money to.

    • Rob S

      Are you talking about the attorneys who actually brought the lawsuit, drafted pleadings, served and filed legal documents, conducted discovery, drafted and filed motions, attended court appearances and negotiated and drafted settlement papers, paid for all of the overhead and support staff that answers telephones, emails, letters and other inquiries about the case? They did all of the work – how is it that getting paid is a victory for them? Do you consider every time you get paid to be a personal victory? Have you any idea what it costs to prosecute a disputed private civil lawsuit? $26k does not cover all that many hours and expenses. Truth is, it is a victory for the client, because they got most or, hopefully, all of the money they paid to their counsel for prosecution of this lawsuit back from the defendant who made it necessary to file the lawsuit in the first place.

  • Rick Valesko

    I think I’m gonna sue you fucks for violating MY 1st amendment rights….stay tuned….

    • arydant

      You would fell right
      at home in Iran.

    • Flaming Moderate

      Please tell us which of your 1st amendment rights have been violated by this settlement. And how have they been violated?

    • Lax

      Here’s how the first Amendment work, in short, since you don’t seem to under stand. As a private citizen you have the right to freedom of speech and religion. As a government entity, you do not.

      End of story.

    • Christopher Leach

      I am not sure he knows what the constitution and amendments says.

    • Gene Dooley

      Rick Valesko, ladies and gentlemen! The downtrodden! The violated!

    • Bill

      This is the problem with you idiots… you don’t understand the fist amendment. You think this means you are allowed to push your stupid fucking religion on others.. Its not. So bring on the lawsuit brain donor, we look forward to costing you thousands in lawyer fees while you accomplish nothing…

  • TK003

    Win!

  • Working man

    I hope everyone prays for all of you and maybe God will touch your lives in great way. No amount of money or comments on the Internet will give y’all the peace your looking for. Most people reading this will just laugh but bottom line is its such a shame some people feel this way and then our sorry excuse of government not only allows it but endorses it. Hopefully just one person reading this will push Satan aside and except God. Y’all should be very happy that y’all protected your 1st addmendment right because after this life is over on earth you will not have any rights towards anything. Congrades on getting the wonderful money settlement for absolutely nothing. People that don’t have any bilifes in God are absolutely correct that it’s there right not to however for the other 98% or living beings that do can’t express that on a police website has none. Shame on the court. What makes anyone’s right more important than another’s. Nobody made anyone read the Facebook posting. Satan is working great through this group but we pray that God will bless all you in a way that you can’t over look. Maybe people should take all this spare time on their hands and go to courthouses and protest for the child molesters that get released from jail or maybe the murders that get sentenced for 15 years them let back out free to do it again. Guess all those things are ok as well since God doesn’t exist lol.

    • Candice Kamencik

      “… but [the] bottom line is its [sic] such a
      shame some people feel this way and then our sorry excuse of government
      not only allows it but endorses it.”

      So, you’re saying that the government is “sorry” when it upholds the law? Because separation of church and state is the law, regardless of what individuals feel about it. We’re not going to have the government push religion, ANY religion, and ostracize those it is here to serve. If some government office near you was quoting the Satanic Bible or Quaran on it’s official page, I’m sure you would not be pleased. It’s hypocritical to think that just because this time is was something you personally believe in (Christianity), that it’s suddenly ok, because it’s definitely not.

      • Jim Groser

        That makes sense

    • Eric Wilson

      Candice pretty much covered it but I have to add. How in the actual fuck is murder and molestation okay if there is no God?

      The ONLY reason you don’t murder and rape others is because of God???? That’s pretty revealing of you.

      • Working man

        That’s about the only thing you have said that’s correct. That’s exactly why you don’t do ANYTHING like that is because of God. Y’all are so pethetic saying they were pushing realign. Please explain how. Sherrif simply posted a pic of a cross and said he has risin. Just because some piece of shit read it at her own free will doesn’t like or bilieve it doesn’t mean it was pushing religion. Nobody made her read it nor stated anything towards her. If sheriff had made a statement towards a person directly off a government website then yes I would agree with you but he didn’t. I have never have posted anything on the Internet, don’t have a Facebook, Twitter or anything like that but when I saw on the local news channel tonight about this entire ordeal it made me want to puke. Everyone has freedom of speech, 1st addmendment rights and all the other cards that people like to play on when it best benefits themselfs especially my favorite one the the great 2nd addmendment that I truly do love. Bottom line is think what you want to think but if you don’t bilieve in God and Have been saved YOU will go to hell. But good news is you will get a second death at an eternal hell at the end of time. Maybe if you would take all the time that you have put into posting over 1000 postings on this website you may find something to change your heart and mind. One thing we can ALL agree on is that a person can’t bilieve something that they don’t see or feel. It totally amazes me this world we are living in. I wonder how many people on here think it’s ok for a transgender to use the same bathroom as my children do. How many think it’s okay for our Children to grow up in a world where it’s ok for them to see two men get married legally. How many think it’s ok for a grown ass man to take a child out to a field and do whatever he likes to do and long as it’s not kidnapping or murder when gets caught spend a mandatory 5 years max sentense and release them and say putting them on a list for the public to view is all that needs to happen. People today have to many rights that’s the problem. They have no back bone only yellow bellys that want to sue everybody and try to get money for nothing. Unfortunate but most time ends up just like this. They win and send a message for the rest of the world to do the same. Some day when the other 98% of the country may seen enough of crap like this and statues being moved and gods name removed from everything it could get very very ugly. At the end of the day what I personal know to be true and what other think doesn’t matter because nobody is going to do anything about it besides sit on there buts and keep their face stuck in the Internet. Sue me lol. May god truly bless you sir.

        • Eric Wilson

          Sounds to me like you’re a hateful person that is using religion to justify being an asshole.

          The way you explained to me that I’ll get a second death and eternal hell I pictured you smiling while typing that and actually hoping that I WILL go to hell.

          I think you have a terrible understanding of what Atheists believe and why.

          If I were you I would really look in a mirror and ask myself if I am justified in judging everyone else.

          Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.

          • Working man

            I’m sorry it sounded like that but know I wasn’t smiling at all and no I promise I don’t want you to go to hell. There is a difference in speaking the truth and judging. Since you know a few verses out of the bible maybe you also know that also is said to spread the TRUE word and wash you feet and look back not for you have done all is asked. Not trying to sound like a ass I guess we are on different ends because I honestly don’t understand any of what happened being justified on either side. You are correct I don’t understand a atheist nor know anything at all why they think like they do. I’ve never meet one. I don’t mean to say they are bad people or judge what they are or think or do. Their are lots of so called Christians that do horrible things all the time. Maybe someday I can meet one and understand why they feel like they do. Not that I really care because I know I can’t change that. I should not have even mentioned a atheists in the first place to me that has nothing to do with what makes me upset. It’s the fact that I think that the officer wasn’t pushing it on anyone he was only saying that for the day because that is a holy day if anyone celebrates it. It’s not when the Easter bunny hides eggs lol. That’s not me thinking that’s the actual reason for the holiday. I don’t mean to hate on your beliefs nor look down on them. I do wish some may change their minds but I’m sure that won’t be happening. I only say what I say because of few things I have personally seen with my own eyes and been through in my life. Who knows maybe your right and I’m dead wrong. I only hope not. I only said that about hell because that’s what the bible says. I didn’t realize actually this was a atheist web page when I first commented. Reading the top article I thought it was a news site. I will not write again and hope I didn’t offend you or anyone else (with common sense). I don’t want you to go to hell I promise not wish anything bad upon you and I sincerely and honestly meant when I said I hope God blesses you and I will pray for you all.

          • I must disagree on one issue – not just the Sherrif, but the whole department were prosletysing on government time, using government resources.

            It would have been just as wrong had police cars been emblazoned with “gods don’t exist”. I think you would object to having your tax dollars spent on that, and despite the fact that I don’t believe gods exist, I’d support you. Government shouldn’t be prosletysing regarding gods.

            But more importantly than this issue, your post shows that you’re not an asshole. You try to be kind to others.

            Get that right, and the details about which gods do or don’t exist are trivialities. Get it wrong, and you’ve missed the point, no matter how correct you may be in other areas.

            See 1 Corinthians 13 and Romans 2:9-15 on that. Atheists, who live without the law, will be judged on the content of their character. Or so says the scripture you believe.

            I wish you the very best, and wish that more had your good heart, be they atheists, muslims, buddhists, baptists, hindus or whatever.

    • Drew Lawrence

      Hey, ‘Working Man’. Atheists don’t believe in ‘your’ hell, heaven, Satan & God. Separation of church & state. The ‘public’ office of sheriff should not be used to proselytize ones beliefs in fairy-tales. Nobody in public office is allowed to use that office to further their own agenda with regard to their sad & pathetic belief in the supernatural.

      NB – Please try and use a spell-checker and grammar-checker in your future posts; as you obviously need them badly.

    • Christopher Leach

      “What makes anyone’s right more important than another’s”
      correct, that is why government officials cannot support one religion over another. hence the suit.

      “Maybe people should take all this spare time on their hands and go to courthouses and protest for the child molesters that get released from jail”

      your god not only does not condemn child molesting, he condones taking child virgins as sex slaves. numbers 31:17-18.

      before you try taking a moral high ground, know that when your morality is based on the bible you are not on the high ground as the bible is immoral.

    • Arthur Cunningham

      Just a thought. Did you ever think about moving to Iran you’d love it their. The political party in power is even called the party of God.

    • CowgirlCaroline

      So, what I got from this is that the majority should rule. I hope that you hold true to that belief when we have a Muslim majority in our country and they want to publicly display the Qur’an. After all, majority rules, right?!

  • Candice Kamencik

    It’s a shame that much tax money had to go to this cause, but I definitely wouldn’t say it was wasted. Defending constitutional law and upholding citizens’ rights is a great use of taxes in my opinion. I would love for it not to have to be used for that purpose, but honestly, I think a lot more money should be devoted to holding the people who do not follow the law of separation of church and state accountable.

  • Working man

    Hey “drew” Your working for a super natural now your just to heart shut to see it. I don’t need spell check seems you got the message out of it pretty easy. If you don’t believe knock yourself out big guy that’s your choice. Ever wondered why if you don’t believe any of it then why hell it matter what other people think. Why get so upset about a picture off a cross. Why so upset of the Ten Commandments that are in the publics views. Nobody makes y’all look at it. It’s not in your way just don’t pay attention to it but no y’all must be heard correct. It’s all hate and it comes from the Satan that doesn’t exist.

    • alanrlow

      Oh boy, it’s almost painful to read your fetid little brain farts. Apart from all the spelling errors that constant knuckle dragging “y’all” interjected throughout your scintillating prose is cringe worthy. Do people REALLY talk like that?
      Do some reading on The Separation of Church and State and also The Freedom from Religion to understand why the picture of a cross, 10 commandments, are so offensive to rational people. Oh, about the one thing you got right was that satan doesn’t exist, but then, neither does your mythical sky daddy either.

  • Working man

    Your correct I was wrong. You have two post today and two post about 3 months before so a total of 4 not over 1000.

  • rhijulbec

    If I were a taxpayer I’d be demanding this areshole resign AND make him pay the lawyer fees at the least. I’d just be hopping at my tax dollars being spent that way. Excuse my ignorance, I’m not from the US, but do you elect or appoint sheriffs or are they promoted from within the police force?

    • Keith Valor

      Elected, but it’s usually by straight ticket; there’s only really the illusion of voter choice. A sherif would really have to be making headlines (like Sheriff Joe Arpio) to get voted out.

      • RichH

        Even then, look at how much support Sheriff Joe gets. And so many others across the country are also probably steadfastly supported. I’m betting this guy is being backed by a majority of constituents, all helping to elevate him to Martyr status. But kudos to AA. Let’s keep taking them down one at a time if we have to.

    • Keith Nichols

      Aside from his failure to respect the Constitution in this one area, the sheriff may be exemplary in protecting the residents of his community. Expressions of the christian faith by businesses and public officials were accepted by most Americans until fairly recently, especially in rural areas. These public displays marked a few religious holidays in communities populated by christians and a small number folks largely indifferent to religion and were not perceived as attempts by anyone to establish religion.

  • Working man

    By rational people you mean dumbass or morons correct. O I’m sorry y’all stands for you all or you people. I’ll try to be more persist on my spelling from now on old timer. Yes people do talk like that and I actually write like that. Don’t guess you believe in oxegen we breath either do you since you can’t see it guess it’s not there huh. I can give you example after example of what you believe in and use all the time and never even think about it but I won’t go there. Everything that we see must not be real I guess. Blind people don’t see anything but I’m pretty sure even you know that. Everything that a blind person knows of is what people that can see tells them is here and what it looks like. Does all the things the blind is told a lie because they can’t see it themselfs. Does everything in the world just a myth to them. Are we all liars when we tell them that there are mountains a sun in the sky. We can’t touch them so guess everyone is full of it huh. Not at all. It only means just because everyone doesn’t see the same things doesn’t mean they are not real.

    • discgolfdc

      The only thing I can’t see, here, is any semblance of education or critical thinking skills. Are you seriously going to attempt to equate physical blindness and resultant inability to perceive the physical world through sight with sightless OR sighted people’s inability to objectively experience an unproven supernatural phenomenon?

    • SkyGuy

      Stay in school kids!

    • Gene Dooley

      Poor working man…all those words and no comprehension.

  • afisher

    Total sideways. AU donations are now being matched : 2:1

  • Kirby Palm

    I agree with other posters. It wasn’t the Sheriff’s Office or the taxpayers that violated the Constitution, it was this jerkwad himself. He should have had that settlement deducted from his pay. I know the Sheriff’s Office probably has a contractural stipulation that the Sheriff will be held harmless, meaning the Sheriff’s Office will shoulder costs and liabilities for damages and lawsuits incurred in the course of his duties, but stomping all over citizens’ rights was NOT in the course of his duties.

  • SkyGuy

    You can bet that the Bradley County sheriff will not be treating Atheist with respect now. This isn’t a behavior that is solved by a lawsuit. He needs to be removed.

  • John Romo

    This is the most twisted BS. You atheists… find the right path or forever burn in Hellfire. Not one single man in the Kingdom of Heaven will shed one single tear for you. No one will mourn your death and damnation.

    • Bill

      Spoken like a true religious nut-job.

  • josephfarah

    Congratulations to you atheists — another big stake in the heart of the First Amendment!

    • Bill

      If you think this is a stake in the heart of the first amendment, then you clearly don’t understand the first amendment…

      • josephfarah

        Yeah, I’ve only been working full-time in the media for 40 years and serving as an expert witness in First Amendment cases for much of that time. What is your expertise?

        • Keith Valor

          Then explain how you could possibly be right. Government officials sponsored by tax dollars don’t have religious freedom or freedom of speech while on the clock. They are government figures, and the Constitution protects US from THEM. It’s the entire reason we don’t have Sharia Christian Law.

          • josephfarah

            I will explain it to you as simply as I can: If government officials don’t have religious freedom, then no one has religious freedom. It’s an inalienable right. What the Constitution says, if you care to review it, is that CONGRESS shall make no law establishing a religion or abridging the free exercise of religion. Therefore, think about what you are doing when you deny anyone — official or not — from exercising his/her religious freedom. Also, think about how you might be trying impose your own religion (secular humanism) on the rest of us with this kind of harassment and intimidation.

          • Erik C

            BWAHAHAHA, “trying impose your own religion (secular humanism) on the rest of us”. Now that is the pot calling the kettle black. You do realize that the secular in secular humanism means the lack of religion? It means keep your version of whatever your religious flavor is to yourself and out of government. It is to the benefit of ALL to have a secular government, otherwise you get things like this going on. You can have all the faith you want, but you pay for your own proselytizing, not the government. If every religion is treated equally, meaning no benefits/shortfalls to a specific brand, then no one can claim persecution.

          • josephfarah

            Your argument then is with the founding fathers and the Constitution they drafted and ratified. Theirs was a government that did just what you so decry — and that was the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, not a local sheriff.
            So, do I have that right> Your argument is with the Constitution and the men who drafted it and ratified it? You’d like to amend or scrap that document or claim it is a living document to be interpreted only as you see fit?

          • Erik C

            Funny, for someone who claims to be an “Expert Witness” you don’t really know what you are talking about. The Founding Fathers wanted to get away from the church running the government (Chruch of England), hence freedom of religion, which allows you to “personally” believe what you want and the government cannot dictate what faith you should have. That in turn means that no one working for the government can prostetylize while working. They are not saying he cannot do it on his own time, but cannot do it as the Sherriff or on behalf of the Sherriff’s office. If he was a Muslim espousing the glory of Mohammad, I highly doubt that you would be there holding up your red card that he has a First Ammendment Right to it. That my dear friend is being a hypocrite. Granted, I don’t know you, so I can’t say for sure, but based on the average type of people who have an issue with this here (Christians), it is a standard case of claiming persecution when it is just the change from White Christian privilege for equality.

          • josephfarah

            Is that right? Did Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and George Washington all want to “get away” from the Church of England? Actually, they were all members, weren’t they? And the Church of England was the official church of their state, was it not? I think you are confusing them with, maybe the Pilgrims, perhaps? Certainly inspirational to the founders, but preceding the by about 150 years…. Thomas Jefferson, probably one of your heroes as a result of your misuse of his letter to the Danbury Baptists, actually order the printing of Bibles at the government expense during his presidency.
            Inconvenient facts?

          • Wine Dude

            “The United States is in no sense founded upon the Christian doctrine.”
            –John Adams

            “The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever
            from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe with blood for centuries.”
            –James Madison

            “Religions are all alike – founded upon fables and mythologies.”
            – Thomas Jefferson

            “The Christian God is a being of terrific character — cruel, vindictive, capricious, and unjust.”
            — Thomas Jefferson

            “In no instance have . . . the churches been guardians of the liberties of the people.”
            – James Madison

          • josephfarah

            Guess you’re not even keeping up with the extreme number of bogus quotations YOUR SIDE has clung to. You might want to look at this: http://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2006/07/07/false-founding-father-quotes-f/

          • Wine Dude

            Quotes corrected. That being said, the point is still to keep the moronic sky-fairy believers and the nonsense they spew from our government. If you can’t figure that out and you’re going to just parse quotes, you qualify as a moron…!

        • Bill

          Funny that you spent that much time with this (so you claim which I’m sorry, I just don’t buy it. That’s a convenient job to have given the situation.) but still don’t see the difference. So if you actually did have that job then you’d understand this is about using taxpayer resources to promote religion. The first amendment doesn’t apply here because hes not speaking as an individual. He’s speaking for a Gov’t run organization.. But ya know.. you knew that being an “expert witness”…

          • josephfarah

            It’s simply your opinion that the First Amendment doesn’t apply here. It did for more than 200 years. Were Americans all stupid until now?

          • josephfarah

            Good day gentlemen. I wondered how long it would take to resort to name-calling. Never let facts get in the way when a good insult will do…

          • Keith Nichols

            Mr. Farah (I assume), How did the court cases in which you testified turn out? You seem to believe that only the Congress of the U.S. is denied the right to impose a religion or require each of us to choose one and that any other governmental unit can do so. I believe that is not the opinion of the Supreme Court and most if not all the lower courts. Correct me if my recollection fails me.

  • Willis Winder

    We have a similar situation in Grove, OK, where the City Manager and the City Council sponsor Christmas manger scenes and other Christian messages on City property and flatly refuse to remove them though The Oklahoma Constitution explicitly disallow religious items of any kind on government property!

  • phreedm

    the county will pay a total of $15,000 in damages to American Atheists….

    Hmmm….exactly how was American Atheists harmed? Why do the taxpayers of a small county in Tennessee have to pay American Atheists located in New Jersey?
    Forget the misdirection of who is responsible…please…how was Dave..I mean American Atheists harmed?

  • phreedm

    Uh Oh… a state trooper, in his car, prayed for someone. Another source of revenue for AA…

    That meant Ross was stranded in Ohio without a ride to his mother’s house and sister’s funeral.

    That’s when Ohio State Highway Patrol Sgt. David Robison showed up.

    “I broke down crying and he saw the sincerity in my cry,” Ross wrote.
    “He REACHES OVER AND BEGAN PRAYING OVER ME AND MY FAMILY,”

    http://www.wnd.com/2016/09/black-man-who-dislikes-cops-stunned-by-white-troopers-action/

  • gary clarke

    It’s a breath of fresh air to hear the sensible side of the constitutional rights defenders have weight behind their argument. Respect to you ppl

  • 70happyatheist

    I wonder how many Christians are involved in breaking the law on a regular basis. I claim that the evidence is that there are large numbers of serial law breakers that qualify them to fall under the Rico statutes of serial law breakers. They could be imprisoned in huge numbers! Instead the Freedom From Religion and American Atheists and perhaps more just sued them and I do not see any comments in the articles about there being serial breakers of the law with impunity. Smile!

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