HAWKINS (KYTX) - Mark McDonald of Jesus Christ Open Altar Church, LLC has closed on the property where the ‘Jesus welcomes you to Hawkins' sign sits.

He closed on the property Friday.

The church claims it has tried to come to an agreement with the city of Hawkins to have the sign remain on the property, now McDonald says the sign is sure to stay.

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People camped out by the "Jesus Welcomes you to Hawkins" sign Tuesday night, a full day after the city decided to get rid of it. 

People of all ages protest in hopes that the sign stays and they're doing it for one reason. Kyle Ross says, "[I'm doing it] because I love God and Jesus and my country," he said.

Ross joined his grandmother holding up the "Jesus Welcomes you to Hawkins" sign.

His grandmother and a group of others believe the sign is on private property and can't be removed by the city.

"I feel like if you don't stand up for something, you're going to fall for anything," said Mauritta Ridenhour, protester.

An attorney with "Freedom from Religion" says the sign was voted to be placed on public property in 2011, he says, since then, the city has been involved with the matter and shouldn't be.

"The bottom line is that the government can't be endorsing a religious message which is what this sign is doing," he said.

In the meantime, some people are still maintaining their fight saying, the sign represents a number of those living in Hawkins.

"There's some of them that are not believers but most of them are because I've lived down here and I know a lot of these people and I think it's a sin to take this sign down, that's what I think..." said Pastor Mike Sullivan, of Mineola.

Mayor Will Rogers contacted the Wood County Sheriff's Office about the city's decision because he says the sign is on private property and it would be unconstitutional to remove it.

 

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