Texans are an independent bunch and do not take kindly to people from other states trying to tell them what to do. The Freedom From Religion Foundation wants Hondo, Texas, to remove its distinctly recognizable signs that say “Welcome. This is God’s Country. Please Don’t Drive Through it Like Hell.”
The mayor of Hondo, Jim Danner, was reported by The Gospel Herald Society to respond, “There’s no way in hell we’re going to take those signs down.”
The signs have been a fixture in the community of around 9,000 since 1932.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation wrote city officials citing the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and said the signs send “the message that nonbelievers are not welcome in the city.” The organization also said that they “convey government preference for religion over non-religion.”
Local Lions Club members are credited with erecting the first iconic, “God’s Country” sign 84 years ago. Danner said the only other complaints regarding the signs was in reference to their absence when the highway was widened between 2009 and 2012.
“We got tons of letters saying, ‘Where’s the signs?'” Danner told the Express-News. He said the community is very proud of the slogan, “God’s Country.”
The restored signs were unveiled with new landscaping in 2012, with the improvements funded jointly by the city, the local garden club and the economic development corporation.
City Manager Kim Davis said, “They’re alleging that the signs make anyone who is not a Christian feel unwelcome. The mere fact that we often have people come to town to take a picture with the signs would say otherwise.”
Wisconsin-based FFRF is a national organization dedicated to the separation of state and church. Its representatives indicate 1,000 of its 24,000 members are located in Texas. Foundation members also required a similar sign “Jesus Welcomes You to Hawkins” be taken down in the East Texas town of Hawkins.
Who knew atheists were so funny? Those signs have been there since 1932 – long before these self-righteous do-gooders were even born, so it’s a safe bet that the signs will be there long after they’re gone. I’d say these guys need to head back up north where they can get some cheese to go with that whine.