Atheist suing Florida town over religious symbols in seal

Screenshot_1

DELAND, FL (FOX NEWS) – An Atheist in Florida is calling for his small city to change their seal.  The complaint is that the cross, heart and anchor are symbols of the Christian faith and should be left out of government.

It all started with one complaint. “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.” said President of Americans United for Separation of Church and State Rabbi Merrill Shapiro.

That’s when the local chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State stepped in.  They sent 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. 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.” said  Rabbi Merrill Shapiro.

The city is working on a response. In a statement, city manager Michael Pleus said, “The seal has been in place since the date of incorporation. It’s an important part of our historyand in 131 years, we’ve never had a complaint about our seal.”

If you look around Deland the seal decorates city signs, municipal buildings, police cruisers. Changing or removing it could cost deland thousands of dollars.

The city attorney is preparing a response to the letter. It should be ready sometime in the next two weeks.

By: Kate Burgess