WARREN, Mich. – A mayor in Michigan has denied the request of an atheist activist to erect a ‘reason station’ near an existing ‘prayer station’ at city hall. Warren resident and member of the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) Douglas Marshall recently submitted a request to the Downtown Development Authority to use the atrium at city hall on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to run a “reason station,” where he would promote free thought. However, according to reports, Marshall requested the same times that the “prayer station” is utilized to offer prayers for residents. Mayor Jim Fouts denied the request, stating that Marshall’s display was meant to purposefully interfere with the “prayer station” and could lead to disruption. He remarked that FFRF seeks to remove God from public life and he would not allow Marshall, whom he called a “designated hitter” for the organization, to succeed in the group’s efforts in his city.
praying“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,” Fouts wrote. “The City of Warren cannot allow this.” “I believe it is this group’s intention to disrupt those who participate in the prayer station, which would also be a violation of the freedom of religion amendment,” he continued. “For these reasons, I cannot approve of your request.” Marshall told the Detroit News that he has complained about the presence of the “prayer station” in the past. “I have complained to the mayor that I thought it was a violation of the Constitution for the city to allow public property to be used by a church to proselytize their religion,” he said. More