Thursday, August 06, 2015

County Will Consider Moving Memorial Containing Ichthus

At its meeting today, the Boone County, Missouri Commission will hear the first reading of a proposal to recommend moving of a monument, now on the county courthouse grounds, to the Columbia City Cemetery to alleviate church-sate concerns. (News Release.) As reported by the Columbia Daily Tribune, the monument, erected with private funds in 1992, is a tribute to two Boone County men killed in Operation Desert Storm. At the bottom of the monument is an Ichthus (Christian fish) symbol.  In 2014, after a complaint about the monument from Americans United, the County Commission ordered the Ichthus symbol covered with a plaque reading "Dedicated in 1992."  Now the County Commission has obtained a lengthy opinion of counsel (full text) concluding that continued location and maintenance with public funds of the memorial on the courthouse grounds would likely be found by a court to violate the Establishment Clause and church-state separation requirements of the Missouri Constitution.  Today's resolution will propose moving the monument and removing the plaque covering the Ichthus symbol. It will also consider a policy on future monuments.