By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent
RALEIGH (Worthy News)– A war memorial in King, N.C., that depicts a soldier kneeling before a cross under a Christian flag has been brought to court by a secularist group, according to The Christian Post.
Plaintiff Steven Hewett is represented by Americans United for the Separation of Church and State; Hewett first filed his suit against King in 2012, requesting a permanent injunction to remove the religious items from the memorial.
Gregory M. Lipper, senior litigation counsel with Americans United, told the Post Hewett was concerned that the King's veterans' memorial only honors Christian veterans.
King's original war memorial was erected in 2004; four years later a depiction of a soldier kneeling next to a grave with a Latin cross was added. The addition was designed by an officer of American Legion Post 290, which is also named in the suit.
"The American Legion has joined as a defendant-intervenor in so far as the portion of the case which deals with the soldier kneeling before the cross," said Mark Seavey, spokesman for the American Legion. "The American Legion has taken no position with regard to the flag located nearby. However, in regard to the soldier portion, we do not believe that the inclusion of the cross violates the Constitution."
Seavey provided excerpts from a legal brief filed by the American Legion stating that the statue "depicts a symbolic historical scene of a soldier honoring a fallen comrade before a cruciform gravestone identical to the tens of thousands of such gravestones erected to mark the location of our country's hallowed war dead".
"To any reasonable observer, the kneeling soldier statue depicts the sacrifice of all members of the U.S. Armed Forces and does not impermissibly endorse religion … That this statue reflects a historical reality – that many of the soldiers who died overseas during those conflicts were buried under crosses – does not make it unconstitutional."