(POLK COUNTY, Fla.) — County Road 98 in Polk County, Fla., was scrubbed on Saturday by a group of atheists who are protesting the “Polk Under Prayer” campaign, supporters of which poured olive oil on the road last year in an anointment ceremony.
“Mainly we want this to be a safe haven for folks who want to raise their families,” explained Polk Under Prayer organizer, Dr. Richard Geringswald, according to ABC News affiliate WFTS-TV in Tampa. “Asking God’s protection from ne’er do wells and evil doers.”
Ellen Beth Wachs, the president of Humanists of Florida Association and Atheists of Florida, said that she feels unwelcome as an atheist in the county.
“This anointment ritual was to call out the angels to check each car that entered the county, to make sure they were Christian, and if they weren’t Christian, they would either follow Christian beliefs or get put in jail,” Wachs told ABC News.
Wachs said the eight members of the Humanists of Florida Association who brought buckets of water to the roadway on Saturday did so in jest.
“They understand that a year later, there’s no oil left on the roadway. It’s just a symbolic gesture to show that we can poke a little bit of fun at the Polk Under Prayer gesture. We’re not going to tolerate their bigotry,” Wachs said.
Last week, Polk Under Prayer campaign members buried bricks that were engraved with Psalm 37:9-11 beside the 12 major roadways leading into the county, praying for criminals to become Christian or be incarcerated, according to WFTV.
Scott Wilder, a spokesman for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, said this claim was so ridiculous he’d rather not comment.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
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