MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A cross came down Tuesday from a Belle Plaine veterans memorial following the objections of a national watchdog group focused on the separation of church and state.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation said the cross, which was part of a display with a kneeling soldier, had been put up in the southern Minnesota city’s Veterans Memorial Park, just off Highway 169.

The group, which is headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin, said it raised objections in October with the city attorney, who told them the display was put up, without city approval, by the Belle Plaine Veterans Club.

Annie Laurie Gaylor, the co-president of the watchdog group, said that having a cross on a public veterans memorial could give the impression that the city only cares about Christian soldiers.

“A quarter of veterans are nonreligious,” she said in a statement. “There are many, many ‘atheists in foxholes,’ and other non-Christian veterans who should not be excluded in any governmental memorial.”

On the Facebook page for the Belle Plaine Veterans Club, an image of the taken-down cross is displayed prominently. The group blames the display’s removal on the actions of “some offended citizens” and says it’ll proudly display the cross, which they say was designed by a local veteran, online.

Comments (7)
  1. This was a good choice. Why do bible thumpers always feel there are only bible thumping soldiers?! Keep your religion out of it!

    1. When you return from the field of battle you will see life very differently.

      1. Try telling that to the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers — they didn’t magically decide to follow your religion. And no, things are not going to change.

        1. Oh Brian, yes they will you just don’t see the writing on the wall. We think you are stuck in the Liberals will always win, but that ends shortly after 1-20-17

          1. No, not “yes they will”, they are atheists who have ALREADY seen combat, and are still atheists. They don’t buy your fairy story.

  2. No worries, with the new challenge coming down the road and a new Sup Justice, things are going to change.

  3. Lisa Hrncir says:

    Why did this Veterans Club feel it was okay to set up any display on property that they didn’t own? Pretty bold move, and kudos to FFRF for setting them straight!