FFRF Again Challenging Michigan City on Church/State Issues

The city of Menominee in Northern Michigan seems absolutely intent on finding any way it can to push Christianity on its citizens. Not for the first time, the Freedom From Religion Foundation is telling them they can’t hold a city-sponsored church service as part of a public festival.

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The Freedom From Religion Foundation is requesting a Michigan city to cancel plans to allow organized Christian worship at a city-sponsored event this coming weekend.

A concerned local resident informed FFRF that Menominee’s 35th Annual Waterfront Festival schedule includes an “Outdoor Church Service” at 10 a.m. this Sunday, Aug. 6. The event website says the annual festival is “sponsored by the city of Menominee” and lists the contact as “Menominee City Hall.” The festival is also advertised on the city’s website with a link to the event page.

FFRF reminds Menominee of its constitutional responsibilities.

“It is a fundamental principle of Establishment Clause jurisprudence that the government cannot in any way promote, advance, or otherwise endorse religion,” FFRF Managing Staff Attorney Rebecca Markert writes to Menominee City Attorney Robert J. Jamo. “The Supreme Court has said time and again that the First Amendment ‘mandates governmental neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion.’”

The event website clearly says the event is sponsored by the city and the schedule for August 6th includes an “outdoor church service.” The government cannot sponsor church services without clearly violating the Establishment Clause. And I guarantee you that anyone who disagrees with that would suddenly and magically agree if the city was sponsoring a Muslim mosque service.

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