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.
One Lake Elsinore councilwoman said opposition to the cross was a “sad reflection on our society when as a Christian nation, one of the principles upon which we were founded is something we are forced to hide in society specifically with reverence to our veterans, the very people who have fought to protect our religious freedom,” according to the lawsuit.
The city attorney also allegedly warned the memorial raised First Amendment concerns because it was a publicly funded religious symbol.
Eric W. Dolan has served as an editor for Raw Story since August 2010,
and is based out of Sacramento, California. He grew up in the suburbs
of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Science from Bradley University.
Eric is also the publisher and editor of PsyPost. You can follow him on
Raw Story is a progressive news site that focuses on stories often ignored in the mainstream media. While giving coverage to the big stories of the day, we also bring our readers' attention to policy, politics, legal and human rights stories that get ignored in an infotainment culture driven solely by pageviews.
Founded in 2004, Raw Story reaches 9 million unique readers per month and serves more than 30 million pageviews.