After banning nativity scene, Delaware mayor calls Satanist group his friends

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Mayor Paul Kuhns, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

A Delaware mayor answered an email from some Satanists he had made happy with a reply that could be embarrassing as … heck.

Rehoboth Beach Mayor Paul Kuhns described the First State Satanists as “My friends!!!” in his reaction to an email the group sent to the city in support of a city decision to forbid a Catholic Church’s a nativity scene from being set up at the city’s Bandstand.

WGMD News filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the City of Rehoboth Beach asking for all emails pertaining to the nativity-scene-at-the-Bandstand controversy.

Among over 60 emails, many of which opposed the city’s position, was a letter from First State Satanists supporting the ban on the nativity scene. Krys Johnson, communications director for the City of Rehoboth Beach, forwarded the email to Mayor Kuhns who replied and wrote: “My friends!!!”

The Satanist group wrote: “We wish to extend our gratitude for your continued support of separation of church and state.”

Johnson sent the group’s remarks to both Mayor Kuhns and City Manager Sharon Lynn, writing “God Bless America.”

“It has nothing to do with the city’s feeling on Christianity or any other religion,” Mayor Kuhns claimed in an earlier interview with WGMD. “It has to do with the city policy about putting any kind of display, whether commercial, non-commercial, religious, or non-religious, on city property.”

St. Edmond Catholic Church was forced to take down a creche they placed at the Bandstand last year, creating a sharp division in the city.

Father William Cocco of St. Edmond protested the city’s decision last year and is continuing to do so this year after news broke of the city’s position over a month ago.

“We weren’t involved in any negotiations this fall,” Father Cocco told WGMD’s Rob Petree. “ They simply came to us and said it couldn’t go up but according to the City Manager, and I was told by council people, that all of these groups they talked to said they had no problem with the creche being up.”

Despite Mayor Paul Kuhns assertion that he and other city officials met with local faith-based leaders to come to a compromise earlier this year, Father Cocco said that wasn’t the case and that the city did not involve his church in any negotiations and did not invite him to any such meeting.

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