A couple of weeks ago, the city of Roselle Park (New Jersey) put up a display just outside the public library featuring a soldier kneeling in front of a Christian cross. It went up with the consent of the mayor, though there’s some debate about whether the library’s trustees approved it:
You might recall that a similar display was at the center of a lawsuit in Lake Elsinore, California a couple of years ago, leading the city to eventually change the imagery… but not before paying a hefty fine for wasting everyone’s time.
“The city should honor the sacrifices of all of its veterans,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “By including a cross in its veterans’ memorial, the mayor is sending the message that our brave, non-Christian service members are somehow less worthy of honor and respect.”
“The courts have been virtually unanimous in finding that Christian crosses on government property unconstitutionally affiliate the government with religion,” said Monica Miller, senior counsel for the Appignani Humanist Legal Center. “In displaying a religious symbol on a city war memorial, the government is endorsing religion — Christianity in particular.”
There’s just no good, secular reason to put up this particular display. It’s an homage to Christianity no matter how you look at it, and it’s not the role of the government to endorse faith.