KELLY FILES LAWSUIT AGAINST IL CAPITOL’S ATHEIST DISPLAY
(CHICAGO) - William J. Kelly, Republican candidate for comptroller turned around the Freedom from Religion’s “Winter Solstice” sign in December due to its hostile and hateful language towards religion and was detained and ejected from the State Capitol building in Springfield, Illinois. Kelly’s attorney, Mark Roth is filing a lawsuit in federal court this morning, which states that the Freedom from Religion’s sign violates the U.S. Constitution’s Establishment Clause.
The Freedom from Religion’s Winter Solstice sign says, “There is no god, no angels, no devils, no heaven, no hell. Religion is just a myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.” “We need to stop the hate speech against Christians and all religious people,” says Kelly. “It is this attitude of hate that has enabled the stripping of religion, tradition, and history from our holidays, our history books, and our culture in general. Perhaps the atheists need some sensitivity training.”
The United States Supreme Court has specifically held, that the Constitution “affirmatively mandates accommodation, not merely tolerance, of all religions, and forbids hostility toward any…” Kelly’s legal case could offer precedent-setting law and impact all atheist displays with similar language. The lawsuit is for declaratory relief and permanent injunction.
ORIGINAL STATEMENT FROM DECEMBER 2009: WHY ANTI-RELIGIOUS HATE SPEECH HAS NO PLACE IN ILLINOIS’ CAPITOL
WILLIAM J. KELLY, GOP CANDIDATE FOR COMPTROLLER
I went to Illinois’ Capitol on Wednesday, December 23, 2009 – a beautiful, ornate building steeped in history and tradition – to have an 11:00 AM press conference. I recapped where we are in the race for Comptroller and reaffirmed my contention that I am the only candidate in the race – Republican or Democrat – that is a true reformer, a true activist that would open the books to expose the insider deals once and for all. I quickly shifted to the real purpose of the press conference: to remove the atheist sign in the Capitol’s rotunda – to remove a sign that constituted hate speech against Christians and Christmas and against anyone who believes in God. The sign reads: There are no gods, no heaven, no hell. Religion is myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds. Clearly, this sign is not intended to promote good will towards anyone. It fully constitutes hate speech. America’s Founding Fathers wanted to guarantee our freedom of religion, not denigrate and mock religion.
Even just as a private citizen, raised Catholic, I believe it is necessary to stand up for what is right and call things out when they are wrong. After I left the press room, I went to the rotunda where about more than a dozen police officers were guarding the sign, waiting for me. I picked up the atheists’ sign, turned it around, and I was immediately asked by the Illinois state capitol police to follow them. Because I respect the wishes of law enforcement, I immediately complied. The officer took me to a detention room and a report was filed. After that, I was escorted out of the Capitol building and the police are further conducting an investigation. As a candidate for comptroller, I believe it is absolutely wrong for Illinois’ officials to be spending tax dollars to denigrate and mock good people of faith. It is faith that gets us through all of our great tragedies of life and brings us together. That is not something that should be disparaged. No good that comes from that. And how is that freedom of religion? Clearly, Governor Quinn and the atheists need some sensitivity training.
We need to stop the hate speech against Christians and the stripping of religion, tradition, and history for our holidays, our history books, and our culture in general. I want to reaffirm that – not only should this sign be removed by Governor Pat Quinn – but as comptroller I will guarantee that we will never have hate speech in Illinois’ state Capitol in Springfield – especially at Christmas time.
William J. Kelly
William J. Kelly is running on a platform to be Illinois’ first activist comptroller. For more information, visit www.friendsofwilliamjkelly.com.