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ICC Note: In mid-March, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) issued a letter of complaint over a public service memorial in Ohio. The memorial displayed plaques that contained a prayer for the different military branches, police, and firefighters, which the FFRF asserted was unconstitutional due to its presence on a public park. It is not yet clear if or how the town intends to respond.

03/27/2018 United States (Christian News Network) – One of the nation’s most conspicuous church-state separation groups has requested that a village in Ohio remove several plaques from a veterans, police and fire memorial display because they contain Christian prayers.

The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter on Wednesday to the mayor of Evendale after being notified by a local resident that the plaques on the Baxter Park memorial contain a prayer for each branch of the Armed Forces, as well as a prayer for the police and for firefighters.

“O eternal Father, we commend to Thy protection and care the members of the Marine Corps,” one of the plaques reads. “Guide and direct them in the defense of our country and in the maintenance of justice among nations. Protect them in the hour of danger. Grant that wherever they serve they may be loyal to their high traditions and that at all times they may put their trust in Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

“Dear Lord, please be with us in our work this day and every day. Grant us strength that each weary task we do may ease a brother’s way. May we be protective of the aged and both strong and inspirational to the young,” the police department’s plaque states. “We ask Your guidance to be with us to be triumphant over those whose acts are mean and cruel. And when our final summons comes and we must all account, Lord, may we forever be in your presence and our many transgressions forgiven. Amen.”

The military-related prayers are stated to have originated from the Armed Services Prayer Book, which was first distributed by the Episcopal Church in the 1950’s.

However, FFRF says that the plaques violate the U.S. Constitution and should be replaced by something more inclusive.

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