Warren, Mich. Mayor Jim Fouts on Friday disputed a report that he compared atheists to Nazis and members of the Ku Klux Klan.
Fouts rejected the application of an atheist group that wished to set up a “reason station” along side one run by a prayer group in the city hall atrium.
He told the Associated Press that he rejected the atheist group because they were opposed to the prayer group.
“The city has certain values that I don’t believe are in general agreement with having an atheist station, nor in general agreement with having a Nazi station or Ku Klux Klan station,” Fouts told the AP. “I cannot accept or will not allow a group that is disparaging of another group to have a station here.”
Fouts told TPM on Friday that the AP quote was taken out of context. He said he was making his point by explaining that during the city’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration, he would never allow members of the KKK to set up at the event.
“I don’t think atheists are Nazis,” he said, adding that he would never compare atheists to Nazis or members of the Klan.
He said that the signs planned by the atheist group had a “pretty negative connotation,” and that they “they wanted to be basically opposed to the prayer station.”
He added that he doesn’t allow groups that are “opposed to another group” to set up stations in city hall, but that he allows organizations representing all religions and ethnic groups. He said the prayer group is “non-invasive” and “non-aggressive,” unlike the atheist group.
When asked if he would consider allowing a different atheist group to set up in city hall, he said he would have to examine it on a case-by-case basis.
TPM also incorrectly stated that Fouts is a Republican. While he has run as both a Republican and a Democrat, he does not currently affiliate with a party.