Atheists Ask Michigan Town to Remove Veterans Monument Honoring Only Christian Soldiers January 30, 2017

Atheists Ask Michigan Town to Remove Veterans Monument Honoring Only Christian Soldiers

If you were to visit Alto Veterans Park in Bowne Township, Michigan, you’d see a display honoring the Christian soldiers — and only the Christian soldiers — who fought for this country.



Because it’s government property, this sort of religious display is unconstitutional. The Freedom From Religion Foundation and Center For Inquiry recently sent a letter to Sandy Graham, chair of the Alto Downtown Development Authority, urging the city to take down this monument and, if they want, replace it with something that honors everybody.

“Nonbelieving veterans should not be relegated to a second-class status,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “They deserve the same place in the spotlight as Christian servicemembers. There are indeed many atheists in foxholes, contrary to the myth, who serve our country with valor and distinction.

“Explicitly Christian memorials are not only contrary to the law, they also dismiss the contributions of countless American military personnel who hold no religious beliefs, as well as those who hold minority faiths,” [Center for Inquiry Vice President and General Counsel Nicholas Little] says. “The focus of any memorial should be to honor the sacrifice made by all who served, not to make a religious point.”

Displays like this have always been considered illegal promotions of Christianity by the courts. You would think if the ultimate goal here was to simply honor the veterans who gave their lives for us, changing the display to something more inclusive wouldn’t be an issue. You would only hear whining from the Christian Right if they were more interested in promoting their religion.

Which is to say: Expect to hear whining from the Christian Right.

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