ICC Note: Last year, the American Humanist Association (AHA) issued a letter of complaint regarding a veterans memorial on public library property depicting a soldier paying his respects before a cross. The group argued that the memorial served as a government endorsement of Christianity above other religions by including Christian symbolism on public property. The New Jersey borough where the library is located has decided not to restore the veterans display in order to settle a lawsuit that the AHA filed.
By Heather Clark
05/13/2017 United States (Christian News Network) – A New Jersey borough has agreed not to restore what was deemed a religious veterans display to the lawn of the public library in order to settle a lawsuit filed by a nationally-recognized humanist organization.
On May 4, Roselle Park council members voted to approve Resolution 142-17, “Authorizing a Settlement Agreement in the Matter of American Humanist Association v. Borough of Roselle Park.”
“This lawsuit was about ensuring that the government must refrain from … religious favoritism, and we’re glad that in the end the Constitution prevailed,” David Niose, the director of the American Humanist Association’s (AHA) Appignani Legal Center, asserted in a statement announcing the settlement on Thursday.
AHA’s motto is “Good Without a God,” and describes humanism as “a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism and other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.”
As previously reported, AHA sent a letter last summer to Mayor Carl Hokanson to demand that a silhouette of a soldier kneeling before a cross grave marker be removed. Hokanson had purchased the cutout with his personal money and donated it to the public library as a memorial to fallen soldiers.
“Though apparently intended as a recognition of fallen military personnel, the display favors and endorses Christianity by suggesting that the government honors the service and sacrifice of Christian soldiers to the exclusion of others,” the correspondence, written by attorney Monica Miller, read. “If your government wishes to recognize fallen military personnel through a display, it must do so in a religiously neutral manner.”