December 23, 2010

Church-State Happenings in Mississippi

Mississippi AtheistsWe have been busy over at Mississippi Atheists, and while I do my local posting there, I thought I'd provide a brief update on what has been happening in Mississippi. We have had a nativity scene in our state capitol for most of December. What makes this a particularly egregious church/state violation is that it is there at the request of our Lt. Gov. This means that it was not simply put there by some Christian extremist group but actually sought by an elected official who should certainly know better.

Shortly after learning of the situation, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) requested and received a permit to place one of their "winter solstice" signs in the capitol alongside the nativity scene. They shipped the sign to an atheist in the Jackson area, who recruited some helpers and placed the sign in the capitol on Monday morning.

There has been surprisingly little coverage in the local media; however, their narrative seems to be a misleading tale of Northern interference (the FFRF is based in Wisconsin). Meanwhile, we have been writing to Lt. Gov. Bryant to explain that there are plenty of us here in Mississippi who object to his efforts to undermine church/state separation.

I continue to be impressed with the Freedom From Religion Foundation and encourage those of you who haven't yet joined them to give it serious consideration. I'm also very impressed with my fellow Mississippi atheists for their willingness to take risks to defend the separation of church and state locally.

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