The problem with this is that these days we're forgetting about the first amendment in favor of the first amendment. Here it is for those who have not seen it enough these days:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
From the mayor's point of view, these two bricks were a violation of phrase one and phrases two and three didn't matter. Which sounds bad enough, until you know about the bricks and what they say. The brick that is least defendable in this context says, "Jesus loves you." I'll be the first to say that this is a little loud in its screaming of religion, however the problem is that this is not a violation of church and state. Why? Let's revive history for a moment.
"Back in the days" when religions were powerful in free nations (i.e. Rome, Israel, China, India, and most every other place with borders) the religion was the government. No conditionals. There was no separation of the government from the religious system at all. If you violated a tenet of religion, it was a crime in the eyes of the state. England was guilty of this as well, as "recently" as 1700 A.D. as well, with the Church of England along Parliament's side pointing fingers. "Disagree with us? Fine. You can leave in one piece or many, doesn't bother us."
When the first settlers came here the idea was different: the state shall have no ties with any religion. Actually, it was, "make no law respecting an establishment of religion." The goal of this article was to prevent, for the first time, a large government from having religious interactions. America was to be a safe haven for people of all faiths (though "all faiths" did initially mean Christian, that did also change).
Sadly, we became ignorant and viewed the words on the paper literally versus seeing what the real situation and intent behind them was, hence the decision of the mayor in this instance who believes that any "public" property cannot have any reference to religion at all. We have come from not making a law that acknowledges an association or belief in religion to not allowing religion to contaminate public property. The law has a phobia of non-political beliefs and openly attacks, via public officials, anyone who expresses a religious view in or on public property.
The brick should have been left alone, and not destroyed like it was (the man did not get his $60 back). Let alone the more controversial decision to remove the brick of a woman who, after losing a child during pregnancy, put a brick in saying "For all the unborn children." This was, obviously, seen as an attack on abortion, as a political statement. So now the government does not allow political statements on public ground. What does it allow? The fact is that the latter brick's intent was empathy on the part of the person submitting it for all mothers who lost children, a very, very noble cause and one that probably helped her (temporarily, at least) heal emotionally from the loss. Yet someone complained and without so much as a phone call to either party the bricks were removed and destroyed.
Then, Friday on Politically Incorrect, our favorite TV host was defending the position of not allowing a bible study group to use school property, public property, after school hours for a meeting. This was, of course, after the "Prayer at the Pole" disputes have settled down.
Where has America gone that she now oppresses the very people that made her? Where, too, has she gone, that she now defends only those that are not Christian? Where is the bias from? Where is the animosity? Why can the American government not treat Christians decently? The issue in question is really this: can religious groups be termed citizens in the same sense that the Boy Scouts or 4H can? Oh, whoops, they are somewhat religious as well, right? Well, then why can they use schools and public centers but more openly religious groups cannot?
This is the modern discrimination. This is the current crisis. After talking about religious equality it has now been deemed that any gathering of people in the name of religion is cause to deny them access to public property. Never mind whose tax dollars paid for it in the first place.