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The city of Somersworth, New Hampshire, will again allow a national atheist group’s flag to fly above a Ten Commandments monuments displayed in the city’s downtown area.
On Wednesday, Somersworth Mayor Dana Hilliard and resident Richard Gagnon raised up a “Freedom From Religion” flag. The flag has a blue backdrop with a large letter “A” in the middle to honor nonbelief. The flag is erected in the town’s “Citizens Place” traffic island.
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According to the Wisconsin-based atheist legal group Freedom From Religion Foundation, which donated the flag, the red “A” was adopted by evolutionary biologist and prominent atheist author Richard Dawkins as a symbol of atheism and agnosticism.
The flag will fly above the Ten Commandments monument at “Citizens Place” until Jan. 11.
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Gagnon told the Fosters Daily Democrat that the flag represents more than just atheism or agnosticism but truly represents religious “doubt in general.”
“It shows the city’s diversity,” Gagnon said. “In their commitment to diversity, the city said diversity includes everybody, including nonbelievers.”
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The flag was first flown above the monument last year after a compromise allowed the city to restore the Ten Commandments monument.
The monument was vandalized and toppled in August 2016 and a debate was sparked as to whether the town should restore it. Citizens Place was created after the city council voted to restore the monument and add flagpoles.
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“Richard’s an atheist, he doesn’t believe in God, and I do — so what?” Hilliard told Fosters.com. “If you remove the flag, who’s going to know who’s an atheist and who isn’t? We’re both human beings, and we’re here to build a community we can all be proud of.”
The Ten Commandments monument was a gift to the city from the Fraternal Order of Eagles in 1958.
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At least year’s raising on Jan. 2, 2018, Hilliard declared that the first raising of the atheist...
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