North Carolina City Agrees to Remove ‘Religious’ Veterans Memorial Due to Legal Costs

Memorial Credit Christian Fighter PilotKING, N.C. — Officials in a North Carolina city have agreed to remove a veterans monument that includes a depiction of a praying soldier out of concerns over costs of continuing its legal fight over the matter.

As previously reported, in 2012, the group Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AUSCS), led by Barry Lynn, an attorney and licensed “minister” in the United Church of Christ, filed suit against the City of King on behalf of local Afghanistan war veteran Steven Hewitt. Lynn says that the memorial, which depicts a soldier kneeling before a cross, is unconstitutional. The site also features the Christian flag.

“The United States Armed Forces are highly diverse,” he told the Stokes News. “To have a veterans’ memorial that only honors soldiers of one religion is not only a violation of the First Amendment, but also an insult to the memory of non-Christians who served their country.”

“I proudly served alongside a diverse group of soldiers with a variety of different religious beliefs,” Hewitt added in a news release last November. “The City of King should be honoring everyone who served our country, not using their service as an excuse to promote a single religion.”

But there were those who supported the display, including Joseph T. Glatthaar, the Stephenson Distinguished Professor of History at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also serves as the president of the Society of Military History, and was chair for the Department of the Army and the Department of Defense Historical Advisory Committees.

“I consider the artwork to be a tasteful display that honors veterans and am convinced that it suggests nothing more than a soldier paying tribute to a recently fallen comrade,” he wrote in a report submitted to the court. “Those who argue that this is an attempt to promote religion or one faith over another have simply taken the artist’s rendition out of its historical context and assumed things that the artist has not depicted.”

The city continued the fight for the past two years, but recently considered reaching a settlement in the matter. This past Tuesday, city council voted 3-2 to agree to the settlement, stating that costs to continue the fight would be too great. Council itself had a tie vote, 2-2, so Mayor Jack Warren cast the tie-breaker, voting in favor of the settlement.

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“The decision to settle this case has been very difficult for the King city council,” a statement from the city outlines. “It was not reached until it became clear that the costs of proceeding to trial would greatly exceed the city’s insurance policy limits.”

As part of the settlement, the city will not only remove the veterans monument, but officials also will not fly the Christian flag in the city limits.

According to the Winston-Salem Journal, some among the approximate 60 residents who attended the meeting expressed disappointment in the outcome, asking, “What else are you going to give up next?”

Council member Wesley Carter and his colleague Brian Carico were the two who voted against the settlement.

“I do feel that this city has been sabotaged and has been bullied by folks that don’t believe what this community stands for,” Carter said.

The city has spent $50,000 on the legal battle to date.

Photo: Christian Fighter Pilot


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  • James Grimes

    Yellow is the official color of King, NC.

  • Fundisi

    Barry Lynn is one of the most evil men this country has ever produced, he and the damnable ACLU and every Christian hater out there uses the courts and the heavy costs of defending one’s beliefs as a blunt instrument to attack Christ and His Church. These are thoroughly evil men that hate our country, they are enemies of the state. I don’t blame North Carolina, litigation costs are breaking the banks of so many communities and the enemies of Christ like Barry Lynn and people of his ilk are domestic terrorists, they are devoted to destroying America through the cheap thuggery of law suits.

    This country cannot establish a religion unless they declare a certain religion or denomination as the official state religion. That is what the Establishment clause was all about, not preventing the people from honoring God.

    • James Grimes

      I am in agreement with your comments. The bottom line is: Barry Lynn is not a Christian.

    • BarkingDawg

      The establishment clause is a lot more subtle than you give it credit for.

      By creating a monument that endorses one religious viewpoint, the city is endorsing that religious viewpoint.

      The Army Veteran who fought the city on this knows more about freedom and liberty than you ever will hope to know.

      • Fundisi

        Take your Army veteran nonsense and go away. My family and I have fought for this country, on both sides, since the Revolutinary War, including two grandsons having served in recent years in Afghanistan. So, if fighting for your country is the only way to understand freedom and liberty, my family and I qualify.

        The establishment clause was from the beginning about our nation not following the errors of Europe and elsewhere wherein they established a national church and persecuted all others. Allowing a monument that honors those of a particular faith, as it always has both Christianity and Judaism, does not meet the requirements of establishment. By the way this monument only showed a soldier on his knees praying for his brothers in arms that had fallen, it did not endorse any faith.

        Just because you on the Left are almost wholly anti-Christ and increasingly atheist does not change the facts.

        • BarkingDawg

          I bet your ancestors fought for the south in the civil war.

          • Fundisi

            No, we were never Democrats!

        • BarkingDawg

          and BTW, there are more religious viewpoints out there, than just Christian and jewish.

          • Fundisi

            Oh, you mean like atheism, evolutionists, secular humanists?

  • Gary

    This is what happens when the courts are corrupt. There is nothing unconstitutional about the memorial, which the court knows. But they also know that most small towns don’t have the money to wage a legal fight. So some judge or some court takes the case, knowing that one of two things will happen: 1. The city will not have the funds for the fight, and will therefore concede, or 2. The courts will rule against the city anyway. If the courts were working as they should, this case would have been thrown out, and the city would not have to defend itself. The question again arises: How long are we going to be bullied by corrupt judges?

    • http://www.174ahc.org/ Dale Cordell

      I’m afraid, until our Lord returns to make things right.

    • BarkingDawg

      Why do you hate the first amendment of the constitution?

      • Gary

        YOU are the one abusing and lying about the first amendment. You scumbag.

    • Chris Clayton

      Gary – So who made you jury, judge, and executioner? If you don’t like the decisions, amend the constitution, throw out the 1st Amendment and make it a theocracy. Look, I don’t like many of the Supreme Court decisions, either. (I would start with the Hobby Lobby case as outrageous.) But, to say they are corrupt because you don’t like their rulings is pushing it.

  • Hollis James Langley Jr

    Can’t serve God and money, the vote shows who does which.

  • armynse

    Our city would love the memorial. We would proudly display it!

    • dark477

      And lose when it’s taken to court.

      • armynse

        NOPE WE OWN THE PARK IT WOULD BE IN . It IS A PRIVATE PARK AND RIGHT ON THE MAIN STREET hahahha

        • dark477

          So the park is owned by a private organization?

          • armynse

            By a private Family and they just happen to be on city council

          • dark477

            Wouldn’t that make it public property? Who pays for its upkeep?

          • armynse

            The private family!

          • armynse

            There is no code ordinance that states a private entity in a third class city cannot have such displays.

        • BarkingDawg

          take your meds.

          • armynse

            Oh and you would know since it must be you on meds. The park already has several monuments of Christian and Jewish belief.

        • wandakate

          I’ve always heard that the one that “owns” it, has the final word. So, YEA is the word here. GOOD for you. When it’s your land, I guess you can do what you wanna do with it. Wonderful! They are gradually taking away our freedom of religion and freedom of speech, has anyone noticed that?

          • armynse

            I wish that a private person would put that monument right in their front yard, That would just bug the daylights out of them!

  • robertzaccour

    Or they could go to court anyway, win in court, and then countersue the plaintiff.

    • armynse

      Not if it is on private property and there is no ordinance to the effect. City code has no jurisdiction
      !

  • jmichael39

    Barry Lynn, a sad excuse of a human being. Everyone has to abide by HIS version of Christianity or they get sued.

  • Nicole Troyer

    I don’t see a problem with it but as a person of a different faith I do think that it should be added to possibly with symbols of other religions like maybe the Jewish star of David or the Wiccan pentacle the Islamic moon and star or something to that effect I would say more but those are the only three that I actually know of extensively what do you all think of what I Say?because I know you all have an opinion probably a lot of you aren’t going to like what I say, but when looking at the whole picture what would you rather do be forced to take down a work of art or just add to it to make it more beautiful and dIverse?

  • Chris Clayton

    They voted it down because they know they will lose in the courts. The Supreme Court has ruled that such displays represent an unconstitutional endorsement of religion by the government. Sometimes, it is best to let these issues rest and look for Constitutional ways to spread your message that do not involve mixing religion with government or with public schools.

  • armynse

    NOPE WE OWN THE PARK IT WOULD BE IN . it IS A PRIVATE PARK.! hahahha

  • WorldGoneCrazy

    “Pastor” Lynn, here is a Bible verse you may wish to consider: “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” Hebrews 9:27 You, sir, fear man, not God.

  • Steven J LaFountain

    If they are not going to “fly” any Christian flag then there should be no other religious flags/banners flown in this town.

    • BarkingDawg

      not on public property, I hope.

      • armynse

        Just on private property,

  • SteveN

    Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga twerking, no prob. But a cross!

  • gregkliebigsr

    DO YOU NOT KNOW THAT ATHEISTS ARE AN ENEMY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND FOR WHAT SHE STANDS ???

    JESUS OFFERS AND GIVES US HOPE , HE GIVES US HELP WITH HIS PEACE! HE EVEN HEALS OUR SICKNESS! THROUGH FAITH IN HIM YOU THE HUMAN BEING ARE GIVEN THE HOPE OF LIFE ETERNAL AS WELL AS HAVE YOUR SINS FORGIVEN AND HAVE A FELLOWSHIP WITH YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER!!

    Mr. atheist, why do you steal and take away that hope ! Why do you tell lies about the person of JESUS CHRIST GOD’S SON!

    WHY DO YOU HATE YOUR CREATOR SO MUCH? WHY DO YOU HATE HIS SON SO MUCH? WHY??

    JESUS OFFERS AND GIVES US HOPE , HE GIVES US HELP WITH HIS PEACE! HE EVEN HEALS OUR SICKNESS! THROUGH FAITH IN HIM YOU THE HUMAN BEING ARE GIVEN THE HOPE OF LIFE ETERNAL AS WELL AS HAVE YOUR SINS FORGIVEN AND HAVE A FELLOWSHIP WITH YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER!!

    Mr. atheist, why do you steal and take away that hope ! Why do you tell lies about the person of JESUS CHRIST GOD’S SON!

    WHY DO YOU HATE YOUR CREATOR SO MUCH? WHY DO YOU HATE HIS SON SO MUCH? WHY??

     

     Mr./Mrs. atheist, please permit me just one question, now, HOW CAN YOU DENY THE PERSON OF JESUS CHRIST? HE WAS AND IS SO VERY REAL AND SO VERY MUCH ALIVE!
    HE LIVED AS A MAN AND HE HAS HAD MORE BOOKS WRITTEN ABOUT HIM THAN ANY OTHER HUMAN! YOU CANNOT GO TO A LIBRARY ANYWHERE AND NOT FIND SOMETHING ABOUT THE LORD JESUS, THE SON OF GOD! SO NOW, YOU ARE FACED WITH A DECISION!

  • DAVIS NICKERSON

    as a Christian Canadian I am offended by the removal of this statue—-it seems that some want to get rid of -or terminate anything that points to the truth—–whether you accept it or not is your choice but it says—‘I will build my church and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it’——and more important—it says—–‘every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that I am God’—-your thinking will not change the Truth—-I will pray for you !!!!

  • Donnie Barnes

    One thing to say about this and this dude /May GOD have mercy on your soul / because i want give you any if needed