Atheists gathered in Polk County, Florida on Sunday used “unholy water” to wash away a blessing placed on a highway by a religious group one year ago.
“We come in peace,” Humanists of Florida Association (HFA) director Mark Palmer shouted to a group assembled to “unbless” Highway 98. “Now that’s normally what aliens say when they visit a new planet, but we’re not aliens, we’re atheists!”
“It sends a very bad signal to everyone in Polk County, and (anyone) who travels through Polk county who doesn’t happen to be Christian,” Palmer told Bay News 9. “This event is not about atheist rights; this is about welcoming everybody into Polk county.”
A posting on the Frank Smith Ministries website explained that highways in Florida were being blessed as a part of the Polk Under Prayer (PUP) project.
“It’s objective is to place Holy Angels at all roads that lead into or out of Polk County,” the group wrote. “A strip of anointed oil has been placed over all lanes of highway at the county line and a prayer has been given at each location asking God to have angels inspect every vehicle that travels into or out of this county and to bring under conviction to those who seek evil and we asked God to bring them to a state of submission and repentance.”
“If they will not submit to God’s way of living, then the prayer is to have them incarcerated or removed from the county.”
And it could be working because soon after the blessing, HFA president Ellen Beth Wachs was arrested twice in Polk County, once for misrepresenting herself as a practitioner of law and once for lewd and lascivious behavior, according to CBS Tampa.
“I had taken [them] on in a church/state separation issue … and [they] sent a SWAT team in [to my home],” she said, claiming that the charges were fraudulent. “They arrested me … and put me in solitary confinement.”
“Look, we just want the world to know that Polk County is open to everyone,” Wachs said of Sunday’s action on Highway 98. “You can’t just draw a line of oil across the county line and say, ‘Only Christians allowed.’”
Watch this video from ABC Action News, broadcast March 19, 2012.