ACLU officials said public money was used to put up the signs on state roads, violating the constitutional separation of church and state. "Can you imagine the hostility that Jews, Muslims, members of other minority faiths and non-believers must feel when living in or passing through that community?" asked Linton Carney, who first saw the signs in July while driving through Franklinton, 55 miles north of New Orleans. He said he has no religious affiliation.
The suit names the town, its mayor and surrounding Washington Parish as defendants. "Public officials in that parish know the law. Unfortunately, they decided to engage in endorsement of religion," said Joe Cook, executive director of the ACLU of Louisiana.
Franklinton Mayor Earle Brown said the town had nothing to do with the signs and has told the ACLU so. "We have no knowledge of who put them up," said Brown, adding that they appeared a couple of years ago.
Last week, ACLU officials threatened to sue the mayor of Inglis, Fla., unless she removes her proclamation banning Satan within the town limits from posts at the town's entrances. The mayor, a devout Christian, wrote the proclamation on Halloween night. It was typed on town stationary and affixed with the town seal.