A law firm that fights for religious liberty is offering to represent a Mississippi County that's caved to threats from an atheist group.
Liberty Counsel founder Mat Staver claims the Itawamba County courthouse in Fulton has the legal right to display a copy of the Ten Commandments in the building.
Someone not known to the community was seen taking photos of the framed display and county officials later received a letter from an atheist group, the Freedom from Religion Foundation, that threatened to sue.
Threatened with a lawsuit, the display (pictured above) came down.
The county's Board of Supervisors consulted with attorneys and determined that the display violates a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, The Daily Caller reported.
The display was replaced with a plaque proclaiming "In God We Trust," the national motto.
"More often than not," says Staver, "the Freedom from Religion Foundation just blows smoke."
The atheist group is known for sending out a "bogus" and "distorted" letter to a public body, Staver says, and those public officials often get intimidated.
"And before you know it," Staver warns, "the religious symbols, the heritage, the words, it's gone."
Randy Boyd is a Republican member of the Mississippi legislature whose district is in Itawamba County. He understands that bullying tactics have led to success by atheist groups in crushing the religious freedom rights of Americans – and he places the blame on left-leaning politics.
"We've allowed leaders to appoint Supreme Court justices who have gone on the liberal side and have decided that a lot of these things that we hold dear are not to be put out – and I think that hurts our country and ... hurts the Christians in our country because the United States was founded on Christian principles. The Ten Commandments are the basis of most of the laws that we have," he notes.
Boyd also tells OneNewsNow why he thinks atheists often have prevailed without filing lawsuits.
"I think they've used the same scare tactic against folks that they feel like don't have the money to defend themselves or don't want to invest in a long litigation ...," he shares. "You very rarely hear of a time when they've attacked someone who is financially stable enough that they can put money out to go to court with them."
The Daily Caller story quotes FFRF co-president Annie Lauri Gaylor, who praised the Mississippi county for removing the Ten Commandments.
Yet she also called the "In God We Trust" display "regrettable" but didn't claim it was illegal, meaning the atheist group possibly knows that Itawamba County is within its legal rights to maintain that display.
The Mississippi-based American Family Association in nearby Lee County has been working with a Christian legal operation to assist Itawamba County.
2-4-2016 - Rep. Boyd's comments added.