Thursday, December 10, 2015

City Will Sue Church Over Ownership of Land On Which Religious Welcome Sign Stands

In Hawkins, Texas, on a 50' x 45' parcel of land between two roads, visitors are greeted with a sign reading "Jesus welcomes you to Hawkins".  In June, the Freedom From Religion Foundation wrote the city objecting to the sign (see prior posting), and in September city council voted to remove it. Tuesday's Tyler Morning Telegraph recounts what happened next. Almost immediately after the vote, members of the Jesus Christ Open Altar Church cordoned off the site on which the welcome sign stands, and had members guarding the site at all hours of the day and night. The Church then purported to buy the land and sign from two funeral homes.  But the city attorney says that the funeral homes did not own the land, so that their deeds to the church conveyed nothing.  On Tuesday, City Council voted to sue the Church and the funeral homes to establish the city's ownership of the property, even though Hawkins' mayor disagrees with City Council's decision.