A national atheist group reportedly wants a 14-inch white cross in a new veterans memorial statue to be removed from an Indiana state park.
The Palladium-Item reports that The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter last month to Indiana Department of Natural Resources Director Cameron Clark claiming that a cross attached to an 8-foot-tall statue has no place in Whitewater Memorial State Park.
“No secular purpose, no matter how sincere, will detract from the overall message that the Latin cross stands for Christianity and the overall display promotes Christianity,” attorney Rebecca Markert wrote.
The cross sends a “message that the government only cares about the deaths of Christian soldiers,” she continued.
State officials are now deciding whether to allow the cross to stay. A message left with a DNR spokesman early Monday morning wasn’t immediately returned, the newspaper reports.
The white-painted cross is on the bottom of a wooden chainsaw-carved statue, complete with a bald eagle perched above lettering that reads: “All gave some; Some gave all.”
The park, dedicated in 1949 to World War II veterans from surrounding counties, is about 50 miles southeast of Indianapolis. The controversy gained steam earlier this summer when retired restaurateur Wendell Bias first complained to state officials, catching the attention of veterans and religious watchdogs alike.
Bias, an Army veteran, told The Indianapolis Star he doesn’t think the cross is appropriate.
“I just thought that a memorial to veterans in a veterans’ park didn’t need to be turned into a religious shrine,” he told the newspaper.