Atheists Demand Removal of City’s “God’s Country” Sign

Annie Laurie Gaylor, one of two people representing the Freedom From Religion Foundation she co-founded with her husband Dan Barker, is demanding that the city of Hondo, Texas, remove a sign that calls the area “God’s Country”:

This is God’s Country. Please Don’t Drive Through It Like Hell.

Turns out the sign has been around for decades: 


local website notes it is the city’s “iconic sign” and the phrase has worked its way into city literature, with the city’s website using the phrase as a tagline and the Chamber of Commerce repeating it for events (ie, “Christmas in God’s Country“).

The sign is clearly a clichéd and irreverent reference designed to get the attention of passing drivers. But that’s not what militant anti-theists think:

It is inappropriate for the city of Hondo to display religious signs that convey government preference for religion over nonreligion.  The display of the religious message ‘This Is God’s Country’ on public property violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment

As Charlie Brown would say, good grief.  In the decades that sign has been up, no reasonable person has ever provided evidence the city of Hondo prefers religion over non-religion.  That sign says the government prefers religion only in the universe of the perpetually offended who get a case of the vapors every time the letters “G-o-d” appear together in a non-profane way.

Which is why this is all the more amusing, as the city isn’t really using God’s name in a reverent way.

On the positive side, a significant swath of atheists appears to agree that Gaylor and her FRFF are being really, really oversensitive, and making atheists look like killjoys with a persecution complex…

…with no sense of humor.

So why might this be of note for the military? Two interesting reasons.

First, Hondo used to be one of only two locations that hosted a US Air Force flight screening program (the other location being the US Air Force Academy). Hondo Municipal Airport hosted nearly 100 T-3A Fireflys, which flew for a few years before being canned by the Air Force due to repeated fatal crashes.  An entire generation of Air Force pilots recognizes God’s Country of Hondo, Texas.

Second, check out this map:

hondo4In the west is Del Rio, Texas, home to Laughlin AFB, sometimes affectionately referred to as “Del Rio by the Sea,” or, less affectionately, the “armpit of Texas.”  The base was initially created in 1943.  In the east, nearly 3 hours away, is San Antonio, TX — essentially the closest “civilization” near Del Rio in southwest Texas.

Hondo is between the two.

Hundreds of young Air Force officers make the weekly trek to the Land of the Big BX every weekend. Hondo is nothing more than a speed bump — or a speed trap, much like Brackettville — along the way. Hondo has been watching US Air Force officers and student pilots — fresh off commissioning, with their new pilot-reputation cars, refined social graces and newfound discretionary income — zipping by for decades.

In other words, there’s a good possibility US Air Force pilots are the reason that sign exists.

Whether true or not, the complaint by atheists is just the latest example of being more interested in attacking religion (or anything that might resemble it) than having common sense.

Or even a sense of humor.