An atheist's group is the victor in a controversy in Oil City over removing a bench in Justus Park bearing the word "God". "Men who aren't governed by God, will be governed by tyrants." That's the quote on a park bench at the heart of the controversy.
It was erected through the efforts of a local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) chapter. Up until now, the bench has sat in the quiet riverside park in Oil City.
The quote was originally a statement made by the founder of Pennsylvania, William Penn.
But the American Atheists (AA) argue the bench is a violation of the United States Constitution.
In a letter, they claim it, "contains an overtly religious message which endorses one particular religious viewpoint: Christianity."
Multiple news outlets, some national, report Oil City City Council finally succumbed to the atheists' demands, and unanimously voted to remove the bench.
While many in Oil City want to contend for the bench, their city council is less enthusiastic about a legal battle even though a save the bench campaign raised over $17,000 to assist with possible legal fees. And the Liberty Counsel is offering free legal assistance if the case advance to court.
City Manager of Oil City, Mark Shroyer is reported confirming while litigation is very likely at this point, such actions to save the bench may not be worthwhile, a view apparently shared by city attorney Robert Varsek.
The VFW will with the approval of the city remove the bench from Justus Park and reinstall it on its on property for all to view.