Massachusetts Town Paints Over Noah’s Ark Display on Playground After Complaint from Atheist Group

The town of Ashburnham, Massachusetts, has painted over a biblical display on a library playground following a complaint from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, an atheist group.

Stevens Memorial Library had featured at its playground a turning picture game of Noah’s Ark, which FFRF said violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

Madeline Ziegler, a staff attorney at FFRF, sent a letter to Terri Antsiss, director of the library, on July 22 on behalf of a “concerned community member.”

“Each section of the turning game contains a passage from the tale [of Noah’s Ark], which is paraphrased from the book of Genesis in order to be more easily understood,” Ziegler explained in the letter.

After citing legal precedent holding that “permanent displays on public land are government speech” and that “the display of this biblical tale on public property confers government endorsement of religion,” Ziegler complained that the biblical display “has the effect of privileging one religion over others and alienates the nearly 26% of American adults who identify as nonreligious.”

Ziegler urged the library to “remove this turning picture game from the playground and refrain from approving any such displays in the future” and requesting “a written response detailing the steps taken to resolve this matter.”

Ultimately, the town of Ashburnham responded to the FFRF’s request. “Thank you for bringing this matter to the town’s attention,” Ashburnham Town Administrator Brian Doheny wrote in an e-mail to the nonprofit organization. “In response to your letter, the town has painted over both sides of the display with white paint so no symbolism is shown.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Ryan Foley