The Freedom From Religion Foundation is urging the Saint Francois County Commission in Missouri to remove the image of a bible with a cross on it from its county seal.
The county’s seal, which currently includes a bible with a cross on it, is being redesigned to include that same inappropriate image. These religious symbols must go, as they are unconstitutional endorsements of religion that exclude the non-Christian residents of St. Francois County, the national state/church watchdog is insisting.
“The religious significance of the Latin cross is unambiguous and indisputable,” Legal Fellow Karen Heineman wrote in a letter to Saint Francois County Presiding Commissioner Harold Gallaher. “A majority of federal courts agree that the Latin cross universally represents the Christian religion and only the Christian religion.”
Heineman also cited a federal district decision out of Missouri finding that a fish symbol in one quadrant of a city’s seal was undeniably a religious symbol.
“The county should remove exclusionary religious images from its official representations as a matter of policy,” she added. The county represents a diverse population with diverse religious views. Thirty-five percent of Americans today are non-Christian, including 29 percent of Americans who identify as religiously unaffiliated.
“While the county seal is being redesigned, it provides the perfect opportunity to address this constitutional violation by removing both the bible and the Latin cross,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “Saint Francois County is not a Christian county, Missouri is not a Christian state and the United States is not a Christian nation.”
FFRF is a national nonprofit organization with more than 35,000 members, including more than 450 members in Missouri. Our purposes are to protect the constitutional principle of separation between state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.