DELAND, Fla. (MyFoxOrlando) -- There is a fight brewing over a over a city seal that has been a symbol of the DeLand community for more than a century.
The city's municipal seal shows a cross, a heart, and an anchor. One group says these are symbols for the Christian faith, and they should be taken off the seal, or the seal should be taken down altogether.
It all started with one complaint, said Rabbi Merrill Shapiro, the president of the local chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
"Someone in the city of DeLand said, 'We're uncomfortable with the presence of a cross and religious symbols in our seal. It makes us non-Christians feel like second-class citizens,'" Rabbi Shapiro told Action News affiliate MyFoxOrlando.
That's when Americans United stepped in, sending a letter asking the city to remove the three religious symbols or stop using the seal.
"This is an intrusion of religion into the world of government," Rabbi Shapiro said, "And the world of government and the world of religion should be separate as called for in the First Amendment of the United States constitution."
In a statement, city manager Michael Pleus told FOX 35, "The seal has been in place since the date of incorporation…it's an important part of our history," city manager Michael Pleus said. "[I]n 131 years, we've never had a complaint about our seal."
Some people disagree. Paul Nehrig, who has lived in DeLand for the last decade, said, "What's changed is people's sensitivity to that. Culture has changed. So we have to rethink what we've done a hundred years ago."
The image decorates everything from city signs to municipal buildings to police cruisers in DeLand. Changing or removing it could cost thousands of dollars. Rabbi Shapiro said the residents would have to pay for it.
"It should not have been there in the first place," he said. "It's wrong."
The city attorney is preparing a response to the letter. It should be ready within the next two weeks.