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Friday 17 September |

After protests, city votes to remove all religious symbols from park

Facebook/Belle Plaine Veterans Memorial Park

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 07/24/17

Somehow, I missed this when the news broke last week.Details: 

Two days after hundreds of people — many of them Catholic — from around the US descended on Belle Plaine, Minnesota to protest the installation of a Satanic memorial in the city’s veterans park, the City Council voted unanimously July 17 to remove all religious symbols there. The council rescinded a designation that made a portion of the park available for monument commissions from any religious group. The decision blocked the arrival of the monument commissioned by the Satanic Temple, but it also sealed the departure of the “Joe” monument, a small iron-cast silhouette of a soldier kneeling on one knee in front of a cross grave marker. Joseph Gregory, a local veteran who died in October 2016, made the memorial. “It’s an outcome I can live with,” said Fr Brian Lynch, pastor of Our Lady of the Prairie in Belle Plaine, “but it’s far from a perfect outcome” because the “Joe” statute also had to go. The statue and proposed Satanic memorial became the center of a controversy that made national headlines.

Read the whole story. 

Zelda Caldwell has background on this:

The city council voted … to end the free-speech zone which had been created earlier this year to allow a privately-owned statue of a soldier kneeling at a cross-shaped grave marker to remain in the city-owned Veterans Memorial Park. The city had ordered its removal after complaints had been lodged that it violated the establishment clause of the Constitution because of its display of Christian symbolism in a public space. The memorial was then reinstalled in the park, but in response to the establishment of the free-speech zone, members of the Satanic Temple, based in Salem, Massachusetts proposed that they would erect their own monument within the park. The proposed monument, a black cube inscribed with pentagrams with an upside-down soldier’s helmet on top, was approved by the city council in April.

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