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Group asks Florida city to remove religious symbols from seal

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Updated: 9/05/2013 12:23 pm
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.
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janethicks378 - 9/5/2013 2:29 PM
0 Votes
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janethicks378 - 9/5/2013 2:29 PM
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Gunny48 - 9/5/2013 1:09 PM
0 Votes
Next we'll demand that all crosses, etc. in city owned/maintained cemeteries be removed. Might as well dig up the bodies too in case some are wearing "offensive" symbols!!

Moderateguy - 9/5/2013 12:39 PM
0 Votes
^Following your logic, we turned our backs on "his" teachings and rules a long time ago when the framers penned the Constitution and the First Amendment. "Gods rules", which is laughable at best because every Christian picks and chooses which ones the want to follow, were never meant to have any wait or authority in public policy. That's the beauty of the rule of law. Your free to practice any religion, in the way you choose as long as it is not a danger to society. The second that the govt bends to the will of one, it strips the freedom of others.

Realchange - 9/5/2013 11:12 AM
1 Vote
So for the sake of 10 then over 5,000 Christians have to suffer. This stuff is getting out hand no one forces them to be Christian in their beliefs. This country was founded by Christians wanting freedom to worship as they please. Now days the good ole USA even allows Church of Satan to have military chaplains. Then people wonder why people scoff now days when we say God Bless USA. While we might want his blessings we have turned our back on his teachings and rules.
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