Americans United for Separation of Church and State today announced that it had reached an agreement to settle a lawsuit challenging a veterans memorial in King, N.C., that contained Christian symbols.
The King City Council voted 3-2 last night to approve the settlement agreement.
Americans United brought the legal action, Hewett v. City of King, in November of 2012 on behalf of Steven Hewett, a King resident and a decorated veteran of the war in Afghanistan. Hewett objected to the sectarian symbols at the memorial.
The agreement provides that the city will remove a statue showing a soldier kneeling before a Christian cross. The city also agreed not to fly the Christian flag at the veterans memorial and to repeal a four-year-old city policy allowing private citizens to fly religious flags at the memorial.
Americans United Senior Litigation Counsel Gregory M. Lipper welcomed the city’s vote. “The agreement ensures that the city’s veterans memorial will no longer feature the Christian flag or a statue of a soldier kneeling before the cross,” Lipper said.
“Protracted and costly litigation in this case was in no one’s interest,” added AU Legal Director Ayesha N. Khan. “We are pleased that this agreement has been reached.”
Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.