King City War Memorial Goes to Court

The city of King, North Carolina, has been sued over its recently erected war memorial, which includes the iconic silhouette of a soldier kneeling before a cross-shaped headstone (previously discussed).

The plaintiff, Steven Hewett, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, is being represented by the Washington, D.C.-based organization, Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Gregory M. Lipper, senior litigation counsel with Americans United, told The Christian Post that Hewett “is concerned that the King’s veterans’ memorial honors only Christian veterans.”

The American Legion joined the suit in defense of the memorial:

the “kneeling soldier 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,” continued the brief.

“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.”

A similar memorial plan in Lake Elsinore, CA, was recently ruled unconstitutional.