Tucsonans’ treasure is transplant’s trash

Tucson’s “free thinkers” think that a “natural rock pit on the side of a road filled with recent worthless religious bric-a-brac does not qualify as historically significant” and that “allowing a permanent religious shrine that serves no other secular purpose, Tucson is endorsing religion and violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.”

To each his own say others, and “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.

Atheists have filed a complaint regarding a shrine on Tucson’s ‘A’ Mountain. The mountain, which looms over the spot where Father Kino was purportedly first sighted by the first residents of the region, has been considered a sacred place by Tucsonans of many faiths and cultures.

Atheists say the small shrines are religious displays with “no secular purpose on government land,” and they want them gone.

According to Don Lacey, state director for American Atheists, the FFRF (Freedom from Religion Foundation) “received the complaint from a Tucson citizen and sent a letter to the Tucson City Manager by fax and by U.S. Mail. The letter is clear, concise, and lays out in detail why the shrine must be removed. The letter also cites four individual federal court cases in which similar displays were deemed unconstitutional and forced to be removed.”

Lacey claims that the shrine serves “no useful purpose to use city resources to defend a pile of religious icons. If requested, members of the Tucson freethinking community will gladly remove the debris for the city at no charge. There are a few members that regularly go on weekends to ‘A’ Mountain to clean up litter along the road already and removal of a few more bags of refuse would be no problem.”

Lacey said this case isn’t about bashing religion — it’s about respecting non-believers and the law. He then called it litter and a “pile of religious knick knacks.”

Lacey writes in a blog that the City officials who are refusing to order it removed need to “understand that a pile of statues, beads, pictures, and candles left in the desert isn’t simply respecting a group’s desire to express their faith as much as it is considered by some as LITTERING!”

Lacey claims that “the paramount consideration is that by allowing a permanent religious shrine that serves no other secular purpose, Tucson is endorsing religion and violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.”

However, Tucson Councilman Steve Kozachik suggested that the person making the complaint should “find something more important to do.”

The “free thinkers” suggest that the City Of Tucson do what West Springfield, Massachusetts deputy director of operations do; he removed a statue of Mary without the case going to court.

For native Tucsonans, the shrines have as much cultural significance as religious.

Lacey couldn’t understand. According to his bio, he is a “Skeptic, Atheist, Humanist and FreeThinker. In January, 2000 after completing a 27 year career in the United States Air Force he joined the Tucson community and started working for Raytheon Missile Systems. He retired in March, 2008.”

A retired guy with no understanding of our community and apparently nothing better to do.


  1. Just read the Red Star guest op-ed on the subject and accompanying comments of hate. Guess the newspaper got what they wanted when they went to Facebook – a wall of vitriol and ignorance to “enforce” their views.

    The op-ed writer and commenters have no clue how the phrase Separation of Church and State came about or what it means. Most of the Founding Fathers including Thomas Paine would have been so outraged as to fight duels with today’s control freak atheists who try to oppress freedom and overturn the First Amendment.

  2. I took off the emphasis (bolded words) but forgot to remove the disclaimer. Re-reading I realized the emphasis wasn’t really needed.

  3. People who feel out of control tend to become controllers. Deep down, they’re afraid of falling apart, so they micromanage to bind anxiety. They might have had chaotic childhoods, alcoholic parents, or experienced early abandonment, making it hard to trust or relinquish control to others, or to a higher power.

    Some controllers have a machismo drive to be top dog in both business and personal matters–a mask for their feeling of inadequacy and lack of inner power. To assert territorial prowess, they may get right up in your face when they talk. Even if you take a few steps away, they’ll inch forward again into your space.

    When you mindfully deal with controllers, you can free yourself from their manipulations. Knowing how they operate will let you choose how to interact with them.

    Judith Orloff MD

    (emphasis mine)

  4. Gee Lacey, can’t you go bother some one else? I have lived here all my life and there are somethings you just don’t mess with. It is part of who we are.
    When you start this kind of crap your stripping away at what we stand for; Freedom. Go collect bugs and pin them if you want but leave our culture alone.

  5. It’s time for atheists to grow up and stop being offended every time they see some of those fairy tale icons. These “free thinkers” are so caught in their ideology that they aren’t free to think anything else. Just a bunch of brain dead progressives.

  6. Yep, there’s nothing better for some than a sterile, godless world.

    Right. However, there’s this:

    “For we know Him who said, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay’, and again, ‘The Lord will judge His people’. It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:30-31)

    I realize that atheists roll their eyes when Bible verses are quoted to them. Their “explanation” being that Christians believe in fairy tales…

    Do Christians take seriously what atheists say or do? Nope. That’s God’s area.

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