Judge OKs atheist’s ‘reason station’ in city hall

Mar 10, 2015

Photo: Patricia Beck

By Tresa Baldas

If a church can have a prayer station inside city hall, then an atheist can have a reason station there, too.

That’s what a federal judge concluded today in ordering the city of Warren to allow an atheist man to set up a so-called “reason station” in the atrium at city hall, similar to the one his religious counterparts have.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael J. Hluchaniuk never mentioned the words “freedom of religion” or “separation of church and state” in his order, but rather focused on ensuring that believers and non-believers receive the same type of access to city hall.

“The reason station will be allowed to operate on terms not less favorable than the terms granted to the prayer station,” wrote Hluchaniuk, who also ordered the city of Warren to pay the ACLU $100,000 for costs and attorney fees.

The case involves Warren resident Douglas Marshall, who sued the city of Warren and Mayor James Fouts last summer after his request to set up a “reason station” inside city hall was denied. Fouts feared the atheist man’s table would discourage the practice of religion and create chaos in city hall, so he rejected his application for a station.


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20 comments on “Judge OKs atheist’s ‘reason station’ in city hall

  • Judge OKs atheist’s ‘reason station’ in city hall

    The 10.35 from heaven has been delayed indefinitely, due to the non-existence of gods and Heaven!

    Would those passengers who are disappointed, please move to platform reason, to look at alternative choices for their way forward in life’s journey!



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  • this is ridiculous. this is not atheism, but anti theism. however, in the spirit of tolerance, fairness and diversity, i think that Muslims should also have station, as well as the Mormons.



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  • Interesting that the mayor thinks what this “reasonite” will do at his booth, with no evidence, no past experience, no video, nada, will create chaos at City Hall. Imagine ! I suggest a line-up of amputees at the Prayer Station. (Call for The Thinking Atheist video crew)



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  • Good news. And about comment

    …in the spirit of tolerance, fairness…

    it was ridiculous to put prayer station in the city hall in first place. To put the prayer station in city hall was not an act of tolerance and fairness. The intention of theists were not fair to begin with. I am very glad that Mr. Marshall did what he did.



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  • John Mar 10, 2015 at 9:04 pm

    this is ridiculous. this is not atheism, but anti theism.

    It is more like anti-bias! – It is illustrating the unconstitutional preferential treatment of one religion over other viewpoints.

    however, in the spirit of tolerance, fairness and diversity, i think that Muslims should also have station, as well as the Mormons.

    That was the point of showing the stupidity of having competing missionary stations in a public building which is supposed to be providing even handed public services!

    The politicians have shown that they are a bunch of biased donkeys, by granting the “reason station” equality, rather than removing the “Prayer Station” which should not have been there in the first place!



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  • …politicians…are a bunch of biased donkeys, by granting the
    “reason station” equality, rather than removing the “Prayer Station”
    which should not have been there in the first place!

    Totally agreed!!



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  • It is kind of absurd, but the absurdity started with the prayer stations which have no place in city hall.

    There are far more religions than could ever fit in a fixed space in city hall, if they all had a prayer station (or reason station, or meditation station etc.) What’s going to happen if they all apply? First come, first served? Time share arrangements?

    All in all, city hall would be better off without any of these stations, but if there’s one for unreason there should be one for reason.



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  • actually, it was the judge who granted equality.. had the politicians done so, there would not have been this display in court..
    but I do agree that the prayer station should not have been permitted in the first place,..



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  • ” How did it all begin?” Prayer station,”God” “How did it all begin?” Reason station” We do not know but, science has a hypothesis and is working on it and coming closer every day ”



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  • My only question is how did the Prayer station even get accepted?

    It’s my understanding that places like city halls should be rid of things like this. Even reason stations. If you want prayers go to a church. If you want reason just open your eyes. Simple as that. Why do we even need a prayer and or a reason station inside of a City Hall?



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  • 13
    hera2you says:

    a free legal advice station would serve everyone equally. who would have time to talk to the lawyer AND stop by the blessings booth by the time court begins? there is always sunday …



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  • hera2you Mar 13, 2015 at 1:05 am

    a free legal advice station would serve everyone equally. who would have time to talk to the lawyer

    When my daughter was a student, the university ran a free “law clinic”, where the public could seek legal advice, and the volunteer students could research legal issues to help them – with oversight by law lecturers.

    Ewan Mar 13, 2015 at 2:47 am

    The last thing we need is more lawyers around the place.

    My daughter who worked on the free law clinic as a student volunteer, would probably disagree, – but she is biased, as she is now working professionally as lawyer.



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  • Ewan

    The last thing we need is more lawyers around the place.

    Now that’s funny 🙂

    Does god give legal advise through the power of prayer?



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  • My daughter who worked on the free law clinic as a student volunteer, would probably disagree,

    And she would be right to, I think. I was being a bit flip. The law is a glory of civilised society.



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