Furor Erupts Over Atheist Display At State Capitol

December 23, 2009

Author: Adam Harrington

Source: CBS 2


A conservative activist and Illinois comptroller candidate was escorted from the Illinois State Capitol building Wednesday when he tried to remove a sign put up by an atheist group. 

William J. Kelly, a Chicago Republican, announced Tuesday that he planned to take down the sign put up by the Freedom from Religion Foundation. On Wednesday, he tried to make good on his plan. 

But Kelly said when he turned the sign around so it was face down, state Capitol police were quick to escort him away. 

Illinois Secretary of State's office spokesman Henry Haupt said Kelly was escorted from the rotunda by state Capitol police, who briefly detained him, wrote an incident report, and directed him to leave the building. 

"It doesn't matter how we feel about the message on a display," Haupt said. "Our obligation is to protect the property within the state Capitol building, and we would do the same for any other display."