TULSA - A strange tale involving the mix of religion and politics has a small Chicago suburb getting a lot of unwanted attention.
It began when a Parks Commissioner in Morton Grove, Illinois refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance during a board meeting.
He told the local newspaper, the Morton Grove Champion, “I have an obligation as an elected official to uphold the Constitution," and he feels the words "One nation under God" violate the separation of church and state.
The local American Legion post then decided it would withhold its annual donation of $2,600 to the park district because its members found it insulting that someone would refuse to stand for the Pledge.
The story took a turn when blogger Hemant Mehta, whose blog is called "The Friendly Atheist," solicited donations from his readers to give the Parks District.
But after raising $3,044.66 and mailing the check to the Parks District on November 12, he noticed the check never got cashed.
The district decided it didn't want to get involved in any political or religious dispute, so Mehta decided to give the money to the local library.
But by a 5-2 vote. the library's board decided to reject the donation.
One board member read posts from the Friendy Atheist Facebook page, and told the board "they're a hate group."
She asked if the board would accept a donation from the Ku Klux Klan, at which point the vote was taken to refuse the money.
Mehta says he's not sure what he'll do with the money.
Meanwhile, according to his blog, he's now on his honeymoon.