Monday, November 16, 2015

Miss. Town Defies Atheists' Anti-Christmas Demands

Most of the citizens of Collins, Mississippi (population 2,500+) crowded the small downtown area to sing Christian hymns and rally against the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) threats of legal action to remove all privately-donated displays at Bettie D. Robertson Memorial Park including the permanent ones as well as the annual “Christmas in the Park” display.
“It's just a small town, a southern town, that they think that they can bully and make us do what they want us to do.”
-- Regina Daughdrill, Collins resident

“It really set a fire under us to do all we can to keep this park operating so we’re hoping that we will be successful in doing this. . . . I told them last Friday do not take anything down in the park.”
-- V. O. Smith, Mayor of Collins, MS
For background, read about the antics of the FFRF.

Click headlines below to read previous articles:

Atheists Help Liberal Schools in Oregon Ban Christmas Choirs

Atheists' Complaints Motivate Christmas Fervor Across America

Atheists Threaten School so Citizens Pray Publicly

New Mexico Mayor Tells Atheists Nativity Scene Stays in Place

Also read Texas School Supt. Tells the FFRF Atheists to Go Fly a Kite

-- From "Collins residents support religious decorations, still may face legal issues" by Amanda LaBrot, Reporter, WDAM-TV7 (Laurel, MS) 11/4/15

Thousands of Collins residents packed Main Street to oppose a legal complaint about the religious displays in the city's Christmas decorations, but the Freedom from Religion Foundation says that does not mean the decorations can legally stay in a public park.

[FFRF staff attorney Elizabeth] Cavell said she is waiting on a response from the city before she can determine if the organization needs to take further legal actions. She said in a case like this, she would expect the city to comply and remove the religious displays. Collins Mayor V.O. Smith said he is currently working with the city attorney to determine the next step for Collins.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "People of Collins want decorations to stay despite complaint" by Candace S. Coleman, WHLT-TV22 (Hattiesburg, MS) 11/4/15

FFRF sent Collins a letter last week about these religious structures, which are in one of the city-owned parks.

Dozens of townspeople spoke during the public forum. All wanted to leave the figures up.

Some stay up all year round, others just for Christmas. However, the [FFRF] organization believes all of them are unconstitutional and unwelcoming to non-Christians.

Mayor  V. O. Smith said he doesn’t have plans to take the Christian symbols down.

In fact, he had city workers put up Christmas decorations early this year to make a statement.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Organization calls for removal of city of Collins religious displays" by Amanda LaBrot, Reporter, WDAM-TV7 (Laurel, MS) 11/2/15

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a non-profit educational organization and member of Atheist Alliance International, filed a complaint stating that the city's decorations were unconstitutional, and "tremendously unwelcoming to non-Christian citizens."

"[The FFRF] had an unnamed local person complain about the religious displays in our city park," said Collins Mayor V.O. Smith.

Smith says the religious symbols have been a part of the city's display for 12 years, but are actually owned by the Covington County Chamber of Commerce. He said the decorations and lights stay up year round, but are only lit from Thanksgiving until Dec. 26 every year.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "In This Mississippi Town, Residents Are Fighting Atheist Organization Calling for Removal of Christmas Display" by Kate Scanlon, The Daily Signal 11/12/15

In an interview with The Daily Signal, Marie Shoemake, the executive director of the Covington County Chamber of Commerce, confirmed that the organization, not Collins, owns the displays.

Shoemake said that in addition to Christmas and family-friendly displays, there are displays honoring the military and fallen service members.

Shoemake said that the displays are intended to “bring joy to the community” and have a positive economic impact on the town, with visitors to the park often stopping “in our beautiful town” for gas, food, and shopping.

She said that the displays are maintained by volunteers and church groups, and there is no charge to see them.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

Also read about myriad attacks on Christmas in schools around the nation, but Indiana Protects Christmas from Atheists' Lawsuits.