Atheist organization pushes back against UMC for banner with ‘religious endorsement’

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UMC replaced the banner, but said it was going to do so regardless

Image on the left from the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Image on the right by Nexstar staff.

LUBBOCK, Texas — The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter to University Medical Center requesting that it take down a banner with religious messaging.

The banner, which was displayed along the outside of a parking structure, read, “Gracious Lord, for all of UMC I pray Your divine protection over them, guidance within them & provision for them daily. – Reverend Wendell Davis. Firm, not fearful.”

The FFRF is a Wisconsin-based organization that aims to protect the separation of church and state.

It said that the banner “represents an unconstitutional endorsement of religion over nonreligion.” It also said the message alienates nonreligious Americans.

“We urge UMC to recognize its obligation to provide all citizens with an environment free from religious endorsement by removing this exclusionary display,” FFRF said.

UMC has since replaced the banner with another banner that says “Service is our passion because our passion is you.” It said in a statement that it planned to replace the banner regardless.

Photo Credit: KAMC/KLBK Staff

“UMC Health System recognizes diversity in our workplace and in our patient population,” UMC said in a statement. “UMC Health System also understands the delicate balance between the free exercise of religion and government neutrality.”

UMC is operated by the Lubbock County Hospital District.

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