Skip to main content

See also:

Mayor stating prayer station in city hall is fine, but no reason station allowed

Warren (outside of Detroit) Mayor Jim Fouts is telling local resident Douglas Marshall that he cannot have a reason station, in order to promote reason, in a city hall atrium where there is already a Christian prayer station. The mayor in his rejection letter made numerous illogical arguments.

He stated that Mr. Marshall being a member of the Freedom from Religion Foundation was trying to "discourage the practice of religion". No, this group exists in order to promote keeping the government neutral when it comes to religion.

It does not discourage the practice of religion. In fact, Mr. Marshall was trying to put up this reason station on his own. His being a member of a group doesn't limit his First Amendment rights. By the way, that Mayor Fouts is tracking the groups that residents belong to, is kind of scary and creepy.

Mayor Fouts states that if he allows the reason station, then he has to allow all other non-religious groups and the atrium, and it would be too full. Fine, then have no station, including the prayer station, but if so then Mr. Fouts can't use his position as the mayor to encourage religion, because quite clearly Fouts allowed this prayer station not for accommodation but promotion of religion.

One's First Amendment rights to practice their religion is not dependent in anyway with a mayor opening part of city hall to a religious display or prayer station, just as Mr. Marshall's free speech rights as a non-believer aren't depending on a reason station in city hall. But, once city hall is made a public forum then the government cannot discriminate based on viewpoints. Something that Mayor Fouts either doesn't care or doesn't want to understand.

The Founding Fathers, men like Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and Thomas Paine built a nation upon reason, not superstition. Indeed, Thomas Jefferson told us to "question boldly if there is a god", but Mayor Fouts is telling us not to question his religious superstitions, at all.