Published On: Mon, Sep 30th, 2013

Florida city sued by atheist group over cross in city’s seal

A city in Florida is battling an atheist group regarding its official city seal that depicts a cross, heart, and anchor.

While the atheist group argues the symbols are religious, the city argues they are a part of the town’s history and carry no sectarian meaning.

city-of-deland seal with cross heart and anchorThe local Florida chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State sent a letter to the city of DeLand, Florida in August arguing that its city seal violated the constitution’s First Amendment Establishment Clause because it depicted religious imagery on its municipal seal.

The letter argues, in part, that the heart, anchor and cross on the seal “are widely understood to symbolize the Christian ‘theological virtues’ discussed by Paul the Apostle in 1 Corinthians 13:13.”

The group demanded the city take action and amend its historic seal within 30 days or it would take legal action.

The city’s Attorney Darren Elkind sent a return letter to Americans United in early September arguing that the city’s seal is not meant to suggest any religious theme, but rather it was created more than 130 years ago in 1882 as a testament to the city’s founder, Henry DeLand, to represent the virtues of “faith, hope and charity.”

“Nothing in the history of the city’s seal suggests that it was adopted to promote any particular religion or even religion in general,” Elkind wrote.

Elkind told The Christian Post in a previous interview that the seal reflects DeLand’s vision to “establish this city as a place of education and culture, and where he, as well as others, would charitably help others to help themselves.”

“The city was named after Henry DeLand and the symbol of ‘faith, hope and charity’ was adopted because those words symbolized the vision of Henry DeLand’s for this community,” Elkind said, adding that “it was simply fortuitous that the symbol happened to be a Christian one.” Elkind added that the city plans to defend the seal.



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  1. David Williamson says:

    Atheist group? There is no truth in that headline.

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