The American Humanist Association has filed a federal lawsuit over a new veteran’s memorial being built at a baseball stadium owned by the city of Lake Elsinore, California. The design of the memorial, which depicts a soldier kneeling before a cross, was approved by the city and its construction is being paid for with public funds.
“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.”
The suit contains details about the times several city officials and supporters of the proposed monument publicly declared the Christian symbolism it includes was at least part of the reason they supported its construction. Despite the clearly sectarian motivation for spending public money—and a warning from the town’s attorney that the monument as approved is likely unconstitutional—the city council unanimously voted to approve the monument anyway, saying that they were “taking a stand” for Christianity and against the separation of church and state.
This is another great example of Christian privilege in action. If you’re going to honor veterans, why limit it only to Christian veterans? Do non-Christian veterans not count? You can read the full complaint here.