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Atheist group wants Bible verse mural scrubbed from Ohio city hall

The Freedom From Religion Foundation threatens to sue the city of Findlay, Ohio for a mural in the municipal building with the words “Under His Wings You Will Find Refuge” and “Psalm 91.”

(With thanks to Cathy Schock)

An anti-religion group threatens to sue the city of Findlay, Ohio for a mural in the municipal building that shows an eagle and a bible verse.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Flag City usa on Feb. 1, claiming the mural is unconstitutional, because it “expresses its support of the government for religion” by the phrase “Under His wings you will find refuge,” and the associated passage of scripture, “Psalm 91.”

The wall is painted in 2011 by a group of local artists to symbolize the protection of the community, and in connection with the theme of that year, the National Day of Prayer. In the same year, FFRF challenged the proclamation, but the atheist and agnostic group case was struck down by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals due to lack of capacity.

Cathy Schock, a professional artist in Hancock County, spearheaded the creation of the mural, “Under His Wings,” which is based on Psalm 91:4 “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge.”

Cathy Schock, a professional artist in Findlay, under the leadership of the “Under His Wings” mural is being targeted by the atheist and agnostic group.

(With thanks to Tom Brooks/Brooks Photography)

Schock told Fox News she hoped the project would inspire the spirit of cooperation and team-work – not-division – between the different communities.

But Wisconsin-based FFRF said a “concerned citizen” warned them about the mural. City officials say that they have never received an objection to the mural and FFRF’s own complaint incorrectly identifies the location of the piece.

FFRF, however, says that the only thing that matters is the mural on the city property.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation wants to remove a mural, located in the City of Findlay Municipal Building.

(Google maps)

“The city needs to remove it,” Rebecca Markert told Fox News. “This is government property and not at home.”

Findlay Mayor Lydia Mihalik says the mural in the city to stay, unless someone with legal authority gives to the city to remove it, in most Findlay residents look to a higher power as they are faced with real problems, such as the opioid epidemic, broken families, and crime.

Fred Lewallen, left, Nancy Cupp, Mayor Lydia Mihalik, Judi Herrin, and Cathy Schock in front of the “Under His Wings” wall painting in Findlay’s municipal building.

(With thanks to Nicholas Powell)

“Maybe the Atheist Club in Madison, Wisconsin has nothing to worry about, but our mural in Findlay,” Mihalik told Fox News. “But our community is strong because we have faith. We believe in a power greater than ourselves, that promises a better day is ahead, despite our individual struggles. In our church we have many people who practice many faiths, and believe many things. I celebrate the elements of my community and refuse to apologize.”

But Markert argues the partial Bible verse brings the government sponsorship of religion, and that makes it illegal.

Findlay Mayor Lydia Mihalik says the mural will stay until someone with legal authority gives to the city to take it down.

(City of Findlay)

“A reasonable observer would have the text as an endorsement of religion by the Findlay,” Markert wrote in the letter.

First Liberty, the Institute for religious freedom legal organization, says FFRF is trying to “sandblast” the mural by the general reference to a Psalm.

“For decades, FFRF and others are on a search and destroy mission to eradicate even the most modest references to generic statements from the Bible,” Hiram Sasser, General Counsel for the First Freedom, told Fox News. “As the Supreme court said in 1867, ‘The Constitution deals with substance, not shadows.'”

Caleb Parke is an associate editor for FoxNews.com. You can follow him on Twitter @calebparke

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