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ICC Note: As previously reported, a park bench in Pennsylvania received criticism last year from the group American Atheists for featuring a quote from the founder of Pennsylvania which mentioned God. The group asserted that the bench violated the US Constitution’s Establishment Clause by serving as a government endorsement of religion. In response to the complaint, the bench was recently relocated to the facility of the group that donated the bench, the Oil City Veterans of Foreign Wars.

By Heather Clark

07/07/2017 United States (Christian News Network) – The Oil City Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) held a public rededication ceremony outside its facility on Monday after a bench featuring a God-centered quote from Pennsylvania’s founder was given back to the organization as city leaders voted to remove the display from a public park due to a complaint from a professing atheist organization.

A crowd gathered along the banks of the Allegheny River to witness the occasion, which was heralded by patriotic music and speeches. A motorcycle guard, decked with American flags, also lined the streets to accompany the bench to the VFW property.

“The problem we’re solving today is the effect of the negative influence of persons who demand respect for their beliefs, but are not willing to do so toward others,” lamented State Rep. James Lee, R-Seneca, according to video footage from KDKA-TV.

As previously reported, American Atheists (AA) sent a letter last November to the mayor of Oil City to request that the bench, which was donated in 2003 by the VFW, be removed from Justus Park. It assert that the inscribed text violates the U.S. Constitution.

“Men who aren’t governed by God, will be governed by tyrants,” the bench reads, paraphrasing a quote that is often attributed to Pennsylvania founder William Penn, a Quaker who wrote a number of theological books and who once stood trial for “causing a tumult” in preaching in the streets.

AA contended that the quote violates the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which instructs that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” The group also said the text is disrespectful to non-Christians.


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