A sculpture of a soldier kneeling before a cross has caused controversy wherever it's been displayed in public places throughout the U.S. While places like The City of King, North Carolina removed a version of the sculpture this year out of fear of legal ramifications, one Iowa town has stood firm in its decision to allow it to stay.
As Opposing Views reports, the town of Knoxville, Iowa recently received a letter from Americans United for Separation of Church and State arguing that the display’s presence in a local park violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The city claims that, despite the display’s Christian religious connotations, it actually is intended to represent the tomb of a fallen soldier.
City Manager Harold Stewart described his reasons for defending the display to the Knoxville Journal Express News. “I informed the individual [who filed a complaint] that while it is a cross that is commonly used as a religious symbol, in this instance it represents the grave of a fallen soldier (of which there are literally thousands on Federal property in Arlington cemetery) and therefore would not be removed at my directive. The individual then informed me that a complaint would be filed with a national organization that fights these types of issues.”
Although the display has been challenged in other cities throughout the U.S., there is logic behind Stewart’s reasons for refusing to remove it. Arlington National Cemetery truly is filled with thousands of crosses, representing tombs of fallen soldiers. If secular groups have a problem with these displays, they have a problem with the way U.S. soldiers are buried in general. It is unclear whether further legal action will be taken against the city.
Image Source: Opposing Views