FORT WORTH — At least four banners hung downtown earlier this week that advertise an upcoming seminar to be held by an atheist nonprofit group have been damaged with cuts, the organization said.
Sixty-six banners were suspended from lamp posts, and others were produced in case they were needed as replacements because of vandalism, said Terry McDonald, director-treasurer for the group, Metroplex Atheists.
The number of damaged banners was accurate as of Wednesday night, McDonald said. He said he did not know whether others had been damaged since the Wednesday report.
“In No God We Trust” is printed on the yellow banners. The bottom of the banner says “education seminar” and lists the website for Metroplex Atheists.
Fort Worth city officials have said they received complaints about the banners.
In a statement, the city said Metroplex Atheists purchased the banners, which are displayed in several downtown locations, to advertise a July 14 event.
The banners and event follow city policy.
“While some residents might not like the messaging on these banners, we do not currently restrict religious messaging, as long as it follows the current policy and procedures for display banners,” the statement said.
Fort Worth allows nonprofit groups to place banners within the public right-of-way for the purpose of promoting the organization or special event. The event must be in Fort Worth and open to the public, or of common interest to the general community.
Speakers at the seminar will make an argument that the official motto of the United States, “In God We Trust,” is improper and will offer a replacement, Metroplex Atheists have said. E pluribus unum, a traditional motto, is an appropriate alternative, it said.
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