Oh little town of Woonsocket, a fool within thee lies...la, la, la.Oh, excuse me. I was just singing a little ditty about Woonsocket, Rhode Island, a pretty little New England town with a population of 43,877. What about it, you ask? Well, we know for sure there is at least one bona fide fool living amongst the good folks of the town. How do I know this? Because the Bible says in Psalm 14:1, "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God."
You see, "a concerned Woonsocket citizen" went to the trouble of contacting the Freedom From Religion Foundation in Madison, Wisconsin, to complain that a cross, erected in 1921 to honor fallen soldiers, stands on the lawn of the Woonsocket Fire Department, Station 2. This extra special citizen is also upset that the Fire Department's website features a picture of an angel and a prayer that 'makes reference to a monotheistic god.'
Oh the HORROR! The poor little pookey must get nightmares just thinking about it! How unspeakably cruel and selfish for the Fire Department to display such a blatant religious symbol when there is a chance someone could be 'offended' by seeing it. Even though its been there 91 years Quietly minding its own business, honoring some of the town's dead soldiers Yep, just standing there on the lawn, not hurting a soul.
Woonsocket must make this person positively break out in hives! There are numerous churches in town: 11 Catholic, 3 Baptist, Apolostolic-Pentecostal, Assembly of God, Church of Christ, Eastern Orthodox, Episcopal, Jewish synagogue, Lutheran, Ukrainian Catholic, United Methodist and Universalist. It's a wonder this extra special 'concerned citizen' is able to function and live a normal life with all that religion being shoved down his/her throat! Well, it's simply outrageous!
Rebecca Markert, staff attorney for the Freedom From Religion Foundation, (608) 256.8900, wrote to Woonsocket's Mayor, Leo Fontaine demanding the cross be removed as well as the prayer and angel on the fire station's website. She listed numerous rulings from past lawsuits over the Constitutional principal of separation of church and state.
Ms. Markert stated that displaying the cross, "violates the First Amendment; including an overtly religious message in a City controlled website constitutes a blatant endorsement of religion thus alienating those Woonsocket residents who are nonreligious." Zzzzz. Yeah, we've heard it before. I find it interesting that the nonreligious people in town have never had a problem with the cross before.
Perhaps I should start a Freedom From Atheists Foundation. Or how about a Freedom From People Who Stick Their Noses Into Everybody's Business Foundation. I bet that would really take off!
The First Amendment,..hmmm. What does that say again? "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
Whoops, what was that one part? 'Or prohibiting the free exercise thereof?' It's a cross people. It's been there 91 years. The city doesn't hold church services around it. There are no baptisms being performed by the firefighters, squirting townsfolk with holy hydrant water. There aren't even any Sunday picnics being held at its base! It's. Just. There.
Then out of the blue, some busybody city resident alerts the atheist attack dogs that they're offended by the monument, and suddenly the entire town of 43,877 people are expected to capitulate to this person's extra special sensitivities.
This individual is too much of a coward to identify themselves so the townsfolk know who they're dealing with. They probably sit in their little house, peer out the front window, nosily watching their neighbors for some reason to spread gossip and start trouble.
Here's a suggestion sir/madamget a job! Go do some good in this world. Volunteer your time at the local library or food pantry. Offer to sweep someone's driveway. Plant a garden. Climb out of your self-absorbed little existence, get a life and leave what has never been a problem alone!
The Mayor, Leo Fontaine and Fire Chief Gary Latille have decided the cross and website image and message are going to stay right where they are for now unless this extra special person decides to mount a legal battle. They might want to think twice about fighting, though.
Mr. Fontaine said his office has received hundreds of emails and phone calls from all over the country in support of the monument, and several law firms have offered to defend against any potential lawsuits.
Tell you what, Mr/Ms. Extra Special person. Instead of the entire town of Woonsocket moving out of your way to accommodate your obnoxious, unwanted demands, why don't YOU move? How about Russia or Europe? I understand the spiritual climate in those places is ice cold, so you'd fit right in! Otherwise, find something worthwhile to do other than trying to make a big deal out of a non-issue.
Dear Atheists: I will not be reading your vitriolic emails concerning my opinion expressed in this article, so don't bother wasting your time. If you'd like to retort, write your own article.
Donna Wasson is all of the following: Married. Mom. Hospice RN. Avid reader. Animal lover. Needing to spread the Gospel while there is still time.