- Associated Press - Saturday, January 30, 2016

PITTSBURG, Kan. (AP) - A post office in a southeast Kansas city removed a “God Bless America” banner because of complaints from a Wisconsin organization and the community has responded by handing out hundreds of similar banners.

The Pittsburg post office took the banner down Wednesday after hearing complaints about it from the Freedom From Religion Foundation. The group said hanging the banner at the post office violated the principle of separation of church and state.

The foundation has also been trying to get Missouri sheriffs to remove “In God We Trust” bumper stickers from department vehicles and “In God We Trust” from U.S. coins and currency.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Post Office said the postal service removed the banner because postal policy prohibits the placement of notices on postal property unless they’re official government notices.

Pittsburg postal workers paid for the 12-foot-long vinyl banner in Pittsburg after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Veterans, residents and others gathered Wednesday as maintenance employees removed the banner, which was rolled up and placed in a safe within the post office, The Pittsburg Morning Sun reported (http://bit.ly/1PYoRev ).

A couple days later, Jake’s Fireworks responded by printing 1,200 “God Bless America” yard signs and 300 similar banners. The signs were all gone in less than hour.

“Obviously, we’re among the majority that didn’t agree with the decision to take the sign down (at the post office),” said Jason Marietta, retail sales director for the company.

Dr. Holly Cranston got a banner and several yard signs and said she plans to hang the banner at her Pittsburg business, Cranston Clinic.

“I think most of the people that come to the clinic know I am a Christian,” Cranston said. “And if it bothers them then they have other physicians to choose from that they can go to in the community that may not be as vocal as I am about my beliefs.”

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Information from: The (Pittsburg, Kan.) Morning Sun, http://www.morningsun.net

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