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ICC Note: On July 8, Judge James Beaty declared that there was enough evidence to take a lawsuit against a North Carolina war memorial to court.  After the city of King voted to remove a Christian flag from the memorial due to pressure from the ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State, local outrage broke out surrounding the monument.  Though the memorial depicts a soldier kneeling before a cross, it does not openly endorse Christianity and is solely commemorating the fallen veterans, many of whose gravesites were marked with crosses. 

By Michael Gryboski

07/09/2014 United States (The Christian Post) – A war memorial in a North Carolina city that includes a Christian flag and the image of a soldier kneeling before a cross has been brought to court.

U.S. District Judge James A. Beaty ruled Tuesday that there is sufficient evidence for a lawsuit against the city of King’s war memorial to go to trial.

“As the court has determined that there are genuine disputes of material fact relating to what the cross statue purports to depict, and as a result, a dispute remains regarding the history of the Latin cross that is part of the cross statue, the court finds that those issues should proceed to trial,” wrote Beaty.

In 2010, under pressure from Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the American Civil Liberties Union, the city council voted to remove the Christian flag from the memorial.

The decision sparked local outrage and prompted city council to adopt a new flag policy, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.

“Under the policy, the city holds a lottery each year in December to select 52 veterans to be honored, one for each week of the year,” reported John Hinton of the Journal.

The plaintiff, Steven Hewett, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, is being represented by the Washington, D.C.-based organization, Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Gregory M. Lipper, senior litigation counsel with Americans United, told The Christian Post that Hewett “is concerned that the King’s veterans’ memorial honors only Christian veterans.”

“The soldiers who have fought and given their lives for our country have come from a variety of religious traditions; some have not practiced any religion at all,” said Lipper.

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