A veterans memorial involved in a dispute over the separation of church and state was vandalized with an improvised explosive device over the weekend.
The Vietnam War Memorial in Mingus Park in Coos Bay, Oregon appears to have only suffered superficial damage from the blast. The memorial, which features a Christian cross, had already been defaced by both supporters and opponents.
The Coos Bay City Council received letter from the Freedom from Religion Foundation and ACLU this year requesting the removal of the memorial. The two groups said the memorial was an unconstitutional endorsement of religion on public land. The City of Coos Bay retained the services of the Liberty Institute, a conservative legal group, to fight in favor of the memorial.
“As we have said many times before, the attacks on religious freedom are increasing at an unprecedented rate. This incident in Coos Bay is a frightening example of just how far the opposition will go to eliminate any trace of religion from public view,” the Liberty Institute said in a statement on Monday.
“Liberty Institute will not be intimidated. We will not back down when it comes to honoring the First Amendment, and we will continue to assist the City of Coos Bay in any way we can.”
FFRF responded with its own statement, calling the attack on the monument a “violent and reckless act.”
“FFRF’s goal is to ensure that the government complies with constitutional principles that are a bedrock of our secular republic. We expressly do not accomplish that mission by inciting anyone to lawlessness — quite the opposite. We encourage members and citizens to stand up for the law — the First Amendment, which protects all of us, by engaging in educational activities,” the group said