A sheriff in Georgia has posted a sign on government property that tells people who are offended by phrases like "In God We Trust" and "Merry Christmas" to leave the area.
Harris County Sheriff Mike Jolley posted the controversial sign last week just outside of the sheriff's office and it has garnered national attention since then.
"WARNING: Harris County is politically incorrect. We say: Merry Christmas, God Bless America and In God We Trust [.] We Salute our troops and our flag. If this offends you … LEAVE!" reads the sign.
In an interview with The Christian Post, Jolley explained that he was inspired when he and his staff found the sign online.
"We thought it stood for what our values were and we have what we understand to be our First Amendment rights also," said Jolley.
"I called a sign shop that we do business with, prints our sheriff's emblems that we put on our cars, and we just printed it up."
Soon after its posting, the sign garnered considerable attention online, going viral on social media as people offered a diverse array of reactions to it.
One critic is Andrew Seidel, staff attorney at the Madison, Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, which claims to be the largest atheist organization in the United States.
In an open letter to Jolley posted on Patheos, Seidel argued that the sheriff's actions were "taking Harris County, GA back to Jim Crow one sign at a time."
"You have now opened the county to any number of lawsuits, and not just to keep state and church separate," wrote Seidel.
"If you value the Constitution and the oath you took to uphold that sacred document, you should remove this sign."
Jolley told CP that he and his staff "did not think it would cause" so much controversy and was "surprised and very humbled by it."
In addition to the sign, the Harris County Sheriff's Office website has also taken to directing people to businesses that are printing T-shirts of the sign.
According to the website, shirts are available for purchase at the site Harris-County.com and also offline at the Boutique on the Square in Hamilton, Georgia.
"My office itself is not selling them, but I've had a couple of companies, local companies, that have approached me and asked if they could sell it and donate the money … or a portion of the profit, to a couple of the charities that I support," explained Jolley to CP.
"Georgia sheriffs support the Georgia Sheriff's Youth Home and we raise money for that, the sheriffs do in the state of Georgia. And so, this is one of my fundraisers."
When asked what he hoped people would take away from the sign, Jolley replied "that you not be ashamed to stand up for what you believe."
"I was happy to do that. I am proud of my sign, I'm not ashamed of it. It's my First Amendment right to put it up," said Jolley.