Faced with the prospect of a lawsuit over maintaining a “Jesus welcomes you” sign on city property, a reluctant city council in Hawkins , Texas, has agreed to move the sign, reports KYTX.
“Don’t judge me. I am a Christian,” Councilwoman Sherry Davis told a Monday crowd explaining her vote to remove the sign. “Don’t judge me and say just because I voted against this that I’m not a Christian.”
The sign reading “Jesus welcomes you to Hawkins,” has been at the center of controversy since earlier this year after the Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter to the city council, saying it violated the separation between church and state.
Mayor Will Rogers has defended the sign saying, “Jesus represents billions of people, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that sign. I don’t think it goes against our Constitution. Jesus is part of every major religion in the world, so you can’t pin one religion on Jesus.”
While the city had previously maintained that the sign was on private property, independent contractors surveyed the land and concluded it was on public property.
“I just want to express my disappointment for what’s about to take place,” said Mayor Rogers said after the council voted. “I don’t think the sign is going down. I’ll have to see that. And if it does, I’m sure it will go back up rather quickly.”
The sign is expected to come down with 30 days and be put into storage, with no one stepping forward yet to host it on private property.