The Bible’s presence inside a city council’s chambers in Pinellas Park, Florida, has atheist activists up in arms. The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), a non-theist advocacy group, has sent a letter to the local government there, demanding that the Christian scriptures be removed, calling the book’s presence an overt violation of the separation of church and state.
But so far, the city is doubling-down, noting that, to date, no locals have complained. Plus, leaders argue that the book has been in the same place for more than three decades — displayed right next to the mayor’s desk, Bay News 9 reports.
The outlet explains that the Bible was presented to Pinellas Park’s city council by the Kiwanis club back on Oct. 19, 1975 and that it has been a fixture in the chambers ever since. Traditional sentiment, though, won’t be enough to sway the FFRF — a group known for taking on faith in the public square.
“It’s on display. And that certainly is improper,” said FFRF co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor, asking how people would feel if it was the Koran and not the Bible. “It shows an endorsement of the Bible as a holy book over other holy books.”
But Government Relations Administrator Tim Caddell clams that this is the first time an official grievance has been waged.
“We’ve not had complaints from residents, from people who participated. We have complaints from groups who come in looking to find something wrong,” the official told Bay News 9.
For now, it seems the fight will continue, as there’s no sign that either side will be caving.
(H/T: Bay News 9)