Pa. Mayor Rejects Atheist Banner for Holiday Display

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A western Pennsylvania mayor has refused to add an atheist banner, which reads 'there are no gods," to his city's holiday display.

Hundreds turned out to support the mayor's decision to go ahead with the display last week, which also includes symbols of Kwanzaa, Hanukkah and secular symbols, including Santa Claus, a snowman and a Christmas tree.

Last year, Elwood City, located about 35 miles northwest of Pittsburg, put up a Nativity scene. But the Freedom from Religion Foundation complained the display amounted to a government endorsement of religion.

In response, the city added the Hanukkah and Kwanzaa symbols, as well as Santa Claus.

Hoping to head off a similar fight this year, Mayor Tony Court invited the Madison, Wisc.-based atheist group to contribute something to the display.

The group mailed a sign that read, "At this season of the Winter Solstice, may reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds."

Court said he's yet to receive the banner in the mail, but he will not add it when it arrives.

"It's offensive," he said. "Nothing in our display challenges or puts down what others believe. I don't think you can say that about the banner the group is supposed to be sending."

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