But Hemant Mehta's check for $3,000 is on its way back to him after being refused by Park District officials.

In an email to Mehta, Park District Executive Director Tracey Anderson said the Park District board "has no intention of becoming embroiled in a First Amendment dispute."

The email also says Park District officials do not want to appear "sympathetic to," or show a perceived position for or against, "any particular political or religious cause."

"I'm a little shocked," said Mehta, 30, a Naperville resident and teacher who writes a blog called the Friendly Atheist.

"The weird thing is … I kind of feel like I mentioned exactly why I was giving the donation early on, and they said, 'If you want to send a donation, send it to us.'"