January 2015 Church & State | AU Bulletin

Responding to concerns from Americans United, officials in Boone County, Mo., have covered up a Christian symbol on a public war memorial.

The action sparked complaints from some people in the area, but AU said it was the right thing to do.

The memorial in the city of Columbia listed the names of two local men who died during the first Persian Gulf War. It also included an ichthus, a symbol sometimes called a “Christian fish.”

Although both men were Christian, the memorial also recognizes others who fought in that war. In light of that, Americans United said it was inappropriate to include a sectarian symbol on the memorial.

Local officials covered up the ichthus with a plaque listing the date of the memorial’s dedication.

Marsha Connor, the mother of one of the soldiers listed on the memorial, complained that the action was “an affront to the beliefs upon which the United States was founded.” Her husband, William, asserted that the move is evidence that people are “very adamant against religious values.”

County Commissioner Janet Thompson defended the move, telling the Columbia Daily Tribune that covering the religious symbol would avoid a lawsuit and “continue to honor those soldiers.”