Tuesday, September 12, 2006

God Bless America?

‘God Bless America' poster yanked

The God Bless America poster that used to hang in the Lompoc post office lobby is now in the back room out of public view.

That's the way Lompoc resident Matt Hughes likes it.

Hughes, a vocal atheist and advocate for the separation of church and state, was offended by the sign and complained to the postmaster, who ordered it taken down last month.

The red, white and blue poster has a large American flag above the words “God Bless America.”

Post office employees were as offended as Hughes, not by the poster but by the postmaster's decision.

“We're just upset and we're offended that we can't show support for our country,” said Cathy Hefferman, lobby director at the post office. “This is a time that you need to do that.”

Hefferman said Hughes had every right to ask that the sign be taken down. But she said postal employees had a right to be able to keep the poster where they work.

Hughes disagreed.

“They posted a religious expression, in this case, a prayer, and it's not the business of our government to be promoting religion,” Hughes said. “That's the business of our churches.”

The poster had been hanging on a wall above the customer service area since 2001. It was placed there, where clerks accept packages from customers, shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Hughes said a supervisor's initial response to his request was resistant.

“I first spoke to a supervisor who told me, ‘It's not coming down,'” Hughes said. “He refused and said ‘That's not coming down. You can complain to Washington if you want, but it's not coming down.'”

Several days later, Hughes discovered that it had been taken down.

“I'm delighted that it's down. I think there's no reason that a government facility should have the largest word in the customer services area be the name of some people's deity,” Hughes said.

“For some people, their god is named Jehovah or Allah. Some people worship Buddha. Some people worship the flying spaghetti monster. But the Christians and Jews have named their god, God with the capital G, and that's whose god was listed in the post office. If there is a god, I would wish he would bless everyone - not just America.”

Hefferman said the Lompoc postmaster got authorization from the main regional office in San Luis Obispo to remove the sign.

“For one person to come in and say it offends him that is his right, but it's also our right to have that up there,” Hefferman said. “I just think he stepped on our rights. He has the right for his booth downtown (Olde Towne Market) and that's his right, so we should have the right to display what we want and if he's offended by something we have in our business then he can take his business elsewhere.”

Adele Carter, another post office employee, said she was also disappointed by the removal.

“I believe God does bless America,” Carter said. The same America that gives us our freedom of speech, is the same America that lets him speak and give him his freedom of speech.

Hughes, a former Sunday school teacher, disagreed.

“The post office is not an appropriate place for people to be speaking for or against god,” Hughes said. “Not in a way that makes it appear that the government is sharing this opinion. People can go to the public square and pray to their heart's content. People are free to do whatever they want in public, but the people at the post office don't get to use the post office to share their religious beliefs because it gives the appearance that the government is endorsing their beliefs.”


At 7:09 AM, Blogger WomanHonorThyself said...

OK so now I'm getting riled up all over again AC..how tolerant of one athiest to impose his "discomfort" on all the workers...too bad it wasnt a red crescent..then it would up front and center!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At 10:50 AM, Blogger American Crusader said...

Of course, that would have been viewed as being religiously intolerant. Can't have that now can we?
Did you notice how the atheist claimed that "God" was a term used exclusively by Christians and Jews?
His ignorance though is proof that he is probably a true atheist.

At 10:55 AM, Blogger Lawman said...

I just don't get it. When will people realize the line in the Constitution reads "... freedom OF religion..." instead of "... freedom FROM religion...".

My how intollerant the tolerance crowd really is.

At 12:33 PM, Blogger American Crusader said...

Excellent point lawman, unfortunately it seems that the ACLU has successfully rewritten that part of the Constitution...at least in the opinion of many judges.

At 2:56 PM, Blogger MissingLink said...

The world is going mad.
Slowly but surely.

At 5:53 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Whatever happened to "If you don't like it, don't look at it?"

At 6:33 PM, Blogger Brooke said...

Exactly, Lawman! Did the Postmaster General of the whole entire U.S. of A. ORDER the office to display the banner?


Then it isn't state-sponsored religion, is it?


At 7:08 PM, Blogger Obob said...

Where is the ACLU protecting the rights of the Postal Workers?

At 9:56 PM, Blogger Gayle said...

Unh, our President says "God" out loud and in public constantly. Wonder who he represents: Oh, yeah, the U.S. Government! Fancy that! Wonder why that Atheist hasn't been able to shut Bush up?

At 5:42 AM, Blogger American Crusader said...

True Gayle...around the White House, President Bush has been known to say "Allahu Akbar" on a regular basis.

At 8:20 AM, Blogger Freedomnow said...

Every once in a "blue moon" I use the expression, "God" Bless America.

However, I am a devout atheist, who can never remember actually believing in any God or Goddess.

I think that this atheist is just intolerant because to me its just an expression...


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