Thursday, January 08, 2015

City Settles Suit Challenging Christian Symbols At Veterans' Memorial

The King, North Carolina city council voted 3-2 on Tuesday to settle a federal lawsuit that had been filed against it in 2012 claiming that the design and flag policy of a Veterans' Memorial built by the city unconstitutionally advanced Christianity. (See prior posting.)  According to Stokes News, under the settlement the city will repeal a policy which resulted in a Christian flag often being flown on one of the flag poles at the memorial.  Under the settlement, the city has also already removed the statute of a soldier kneeling before a cross that was part of the memorial. The city will also pay $500,000 in legal fees to Americans United, and $1 in nominal damages to the plaintiff in Hewett vs. City of King.  The city agreed to the settlement when it became clear that the cost of going to trial might reach $2 million and greatly exceed the city's insurance policy limits, and that the city might lose its insurance coverage.  Councilman Brian Carico, one of the two voting against the settlement, said:
... before I am a council member, before I am a husband, before I am a father or a brother or a son, ... I am a Christian.... Every word and deed I do is supposed to be in the name of Jesus Christ.... I can’t vote to remove anything from that memorial because the intent is not there for anyone to be offended. Every veteran that memorial honors took an oath of God and country and they knew what God they were speaking of.