Some Nebraska atheists are accusing their mayor of offering a colorful and “disturbing” response to a complaint over a Memorial Day event that they believe violated the separation of church and state.
Robert Fuller, a board member and treasurer for Omaha Atheists, a local activist group, claims to have approached La Vista Mayor Douglas Kindig to express his concern that “Faith and Freedom Day,” an event held Sunday to commemorate Memorial Day, might have crossed legal bounds.
A press release claims that Fuller approached the mayor and calmly expressed his disagreement after the event, which included a religious service, concluded, handing Kindig his business card and requesting a time to speak further about the issue.
But Kindig purportedly responded with what the atheist group dubbed “disturbing comments.”
“Take me to f****** court, because I don’t care,” the mayor is quoted as saying. The organization claims he later added, “Minorities are not going to run my city.”
Fuller said in the press release that he was “baffled” by Kindig’s purported response and that he simply wanted the politician to hear his concerns.
But, while the mayor’s office did indicate the clash was spirited, an official statement on the matter indicated that Kindig was “confronted” by Fuller. The politician’s explanation apparently didn’t get into the specifics, according to WOWT-TV.
“I am truly sorry that my response to this representative caused backlash against the City,” Kindig said in a statement. “I was coming out of a very emotional event at which local veterans who were killed in action were recognized, and my reaction was certainly emotional in nature.”
He added, “It is my hope all sides can move forward together.”
“Faith and Freedom Day” was an event held on Sunday to “celebrate and thank” veterans and those serving in the military.
In addition to a pancake breakfast, there was a “service” that was held in their honor, according to an ad on the city’s website. The religious event was apparently sponsored by local churches.
It is unclear whether the two parties will meet to discuss the matter.
(H/T: Friendly Atheist)