We sent a letter from the AHA’s legal center this morning to the mayor of Roselle Park, New Jersey, to complain about a memorial on public property portraying a Christian cross. Mayor Carl Hokanson reportedly purchased the display himself and had city employees install it in front of the community’s library. The display, which depicts a soldier kneeling in front of a grave marker shaped as a Christian cross, is apparently intended as a tribute to fallen soldiers.
The problem is that not all soldiers are Christians, and the cross is not a universal symbol for those who have fought and died. The AHA won an Establishment Clause lawsuit in California in 2014 over a similar display, and will most likely litigate this one if Roselle Park does not remove the display. As I told one reporter, Jewish, Muslim, atheist, and Hindu soldiers are not honored when a government erects a memorial that use the cross. There are better, religiously neutral ways to pay respect to fallen soldiers.