FFRF is expected to raise a first-of-its-kind flag — honoring atheism and freethought — to protest a New Hampshire town’s Ten Commandments display.
FFRF will sponsor the raising of an “A” flag in Somersworth, N.H. The flag will be up in the “Citizen’s Place” traffic island Jan. 2 through January to honor freethinkers. It was supposed to fly in December, but the city has postponed the date.
This year, the city installed two flagpoles near a contentious Ten Commandments monument at the traffic island for community groups to celebrate events. The addition of something other than a Judeo-Christian symbol is an attempted gesture by the city to get around legal precedent against stand-alone Ten Commandments markers on public property.
Two City Council members rightly objected to the entire concept.
“This plot of land can’t truly be a place for all citizens as long as it exclusively focuses on a religion not shared by all citizens,” Jessica Paradis said. “That is why we have laws that are supposed to separate church and state.”
Jennifer Soldati reinforced her fellow council member’s assertion.
“The optics of that little traffic island when you drive through now, especially since we have flagpoles, are further poking the eye of the Constitution,” Soldati said. “According to eight out of 10 court decisions, it does promote Christianity and it is in violation of the Constitution.”
FFRF agrees with the council members’ eloquent reasoning and has asked for several years that the Ten Commandments monument be removed. Meanwhile, FFRF wants to even it out with a freethought perspective.
“We believe the town needs to ‘honor thy First Amendment,’” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “With such a religious shrine glaringly on display, we have to present our viewpoint.”