Turtles all the way down

Atheist group sues California city over ‘divisively religious’ memorial

Posted by doctore0 on June 3, 2013



An organization that promotes secularism has sued a city in California in hopes of blocking the construction of a religiously-themed veterans memorial.

In their lawsuit, the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center said the memorial violated the separation of church and state. Lake Elsinore’s polished black granite memorial depicts a soldier kneeling in prayer before a Christian cross.

“The city has clearly violated the First Amendment by unnecessarily choosing a divisively religious means of honoring our veterans,” said William Burgess, an attorney with the Appignani Humanist Legal Center. “In addition, the California constitution prohibits any governmental funding whatsoever for religious purposes, including religious monuments.”

Proponents of the memorial have said it is a historically accurate depiction of a World War II-era soldier honoring a fallen colleague. In their lawsuit, however, the Appignani Humanist Legal Center noted several city officials supported the memorial specifically because of its Christian symbolism.

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