Summerville attorney asked to investigate YMCA secular humanist issue
SUMMERVILLE — The town attorney will look into whether the Summerville YMCA really did violate federal law by refusing a Flowertown Festival booth to a secular humanist group, despite the eventual rental of the booth to the group.
Town Councilman Walter Bailey surprised other council members and the audience Wednesday night by calling for the probe and moving that the town request five years of records of YMCA booth denials and booths rented to religious organizations.
Both motions won unanimous council approval.
The YMCA initially turned down a booth request made by Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry, because the YMCA is a Christian organization. The humanists promote a “nontheistic” human viewpoint that doesn’t include a deity. Some humanists are atheists.
The turnaround came after the national American Humanist Association reminded the YMCA that the refusal violated federal law preventing discrimination based on religious views, and YMCA officials consulted with their attorney.
Bailey, a former solicitor, persistently has spoken against what he considers unwarranted federal intrusion in the local and state laws.
The arts and crafts festival takes place April 5-7. The event, a fundraiser for the YMCA, draws an estimated 200,000 people annually.
Read more in upcoming editions of The Post and Courier.