Organization calls for removal of city of Collins religious displays

Organization calls for removal of city of Collins religious displays
Photo Source: FFRF news release
Photo Source: FFRF news release

COLLINS, MS (WDAM) - A compliant has been filed against the city of Collins calling for the city to remove its religious displays from the city park.

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."

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

According to the letter, the display goes against The Establishment Clause, which prohibits government sponsorship of religious messages.

"But there's more than just christian material over there," Smith said.

Smith says the religious symbols have bee 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.

Smith said he was shocked to receive the letter and said that other citizens he's spoken with have had the same reaction.

"Surprised. They're not supporting that for sure," Smith said. "Not a one. They just want to say they support against that."

The city of Collins is holding meeting Tuesday night at 6 p.m. to address the letter. Smith says he's closing down Main Street and hosting it outside because he expects so many people to attend.