FFRF has successfully petitioned the city of Buhler, Kan., to remove a cross from its official seal.
After receiving a complaint from an offended Buhler citizen, Staff Attorney Patrick Elliott wrote Sept. 14 to Mayor Daniel Friesen, pointing out it’s unlawful for a city to use a Latin cross as part of its official symbol. Elliott cited seven federal court decisions that held crosses on municipal seals and logos to be unconstitutional.
Friesen told reporters that “the city consulted several law firms, which said the city would most likely lose if it took this to court.”
“The endorsement of religion in the Buhler seal is particularly egregious because the cross is prominently featured and used to symbolize the ‘Traditional Values’ portion of the town motto. Courts addressing less prominent depictions have found that the inclusion of a Latin cross among other symbols on government seals and logos violates the Establishment Clause,” wrote Elliott.
The mayor correctly noted that if the city were to fight the case it would be wasting taxpayer money.
The story erupted in Kansas and nationally in late November.
The Fox News Channel, in its coverage of what it called “culture war news,” relentlessly pummeled FFRF on various nationally broadcast programs and on Facebook. Eric Bolling, who replaced Glenn Beck and kicked FFRF Co-President Dan Barker off the air last year, said during a segment of “The Five” that the city had a “free speech” right to endorse religion: “Back off, Freedom From Religion. Can’t stand that group, by the way. . . . It’s groups like Freedom From Religion that are the problem.”
The mayor announced the seal will be redesigned without the cross.
Please contact the mayor to thank him for his responsible decision and to affirm why cities can’t endorse religion:
Mayor Daniel P. Friesen
602 N Main
Buhler, KS 67522