WARREN, Mich., April 17 (UPI) -- A Michigan mayor has turned down an atheist’s request to place a “reason station” inside the atrium of city hall which would “promote free thought” and the “use of reason” because he claims it would disrupt an existing prayer station.
Warren Mayor Jim Fouts denied Freedom From Religion member Douglas Marshall’s request in a letter.
“To my way of thinking, your group is strictly an anti-religion group intending to deprive all organized religions of their constitutional freedoms or at least discourage the practice of religion. The City of Warren cannot allow this,” Fouts wrote. “Also, I believe it is group’s intention to disrupt those who participate in the Prayer Station which would also be a violation of the freedom of religion amendment. For these reasons, I cannot approve of your request.”
Marshall said that he expected six people to come to the reason station.
“I do view this as a violation of my free speech rights,” Marshall told the Detroit Free Press. “It seems to me that the mayor allows free speech in the atrium as long as he agrees with the speech. If he doesn’t, he denies speech he doesn’t agree with in the atrium.”
This is not the first time Fouts has rejected one of Marshall’s proposals, so he wasn’t all the surprised with the mayor’s letter and “more or less expected” it.
He plans to visit with counsel to “determine what my options are.”
[Detroit Free Press]