MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The cross removed from a Belle Plaine veterans memorial over concerns it violated the separation of church and state is on its way to being restored.
The Belle Plaine City Council voted Monday night to designate an area of the city’s Veterans Memorial Park as a “limited public forum,” the Star Tribune reports. The forum would allow up to five displays to be placed inside the park.
The displays can be religious or secular; the only requirement is that they honor veterans.
The vote, which narrowly passed the council, was a victory for many townspeople, who rallied after the cross was removed last month from the small southern Minnesota park off Highway 169.
The cross was first placed in the park over the summer by the Belle Plaine Veterans Club. The display featured a soldier kneeling before a grave marked with a cross.
The cross was cut down from the display in January, following objections from citizens and the atheist watchdog group, the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Their concern was that the cross violated the separation of church and state.
An attorney for the Wisconsin-based watchdog group told the newspaper that it will weigh legal action against the city or perhaps submit its own “Atheists in Foxholes” monument to the forum.