‘One Nation Under God’ Banner Taken Down from New Jersey City Train Trestle

Madison High School in New Jersey has an active fan club known as “Dodger Nation.” It’s not affiliated with the school, but they do things like running tailgates and hanging banners supporting the school’s teams.

Recently, they began selling lawn signs and window stickers with the words “One Nation Under God” underneath the logo:

None of that was an issue until city officials in Madison allowed them to hang a banner with the logo and phrase on an overpass:

That entanglement led to some residents asking the city to take down the banner — and Mayor Robert Conley finally did, much to the ignorant disappointment of Dodger Nation:

The controversial sign had been OK’d by Madison’s zoning office, [Dodger Nation member Mike] Waresk and Conley each said.

The mayor said the sign was likely approved because of “a pattern of approvals” that had occurred before. Dodger Nation has hung several signs — without religious references — from the trestle, Conley said.

But after hearing complaints about the sign connecting God and high school sports, Conley said, the sign was taken down.

“We ARE One Nation Under GOD!!!!!!” Kelly Raitt wrote on the page.

“Seriously??? What’s wrong with people. I loved seeing it was on the banner and even told my son what a joy it was. Jerks,” Sherri Blazier Mckinnon wrote.

Waresk told NJ.com Tuesday that it wasn’t the group’s intention to upset anyone.

“If anyone was offended, I apologize,” he said. “That wasn’t the intent.

It probably didn’t help that this was one of the photos in Dodger Nation’s Facebook photo album:

The Mayor made the right move, in any case. The issue here isn’t that Dodger Nation is using God in its signs — it’s a private group and the members can do that if they wish. The issue is that the city’s inadvertent promotion of those banners was unconstitutional. Unless the city is ready to hang a banner reading “God won’t help our teams… Hope they practiced!” this banner can’t hang on a city-owned overpass, either.

Too bad the members of and commenters on the Facebook page don’t seem to understand how the laws work.

(Thanks to Brian for the link!)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.