Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Sister Newspapers' News

July 18, 2012

Cowboy silhouettes and cross sent packing

McALESTER, Okla. -- Silhouettes depicting scenes of cowboys and soldiers kneeling before a cross have been removed from street signs by city officials, who cited religious objections.

Meanwhile, “In God We Trust” was recently placed in the lobby at McAlester City Hall.

The roadway signage was removed following a complaint, said City Manager Pete Stasiak, who had conferred with the city’s attorney before acting. “I had them removed because of a conflict with church and state.”

Joe Ervin, attorney for the City of McAlester, said there is a difference between having a motto “In God We Trust” posted in City Hall and having a religious symbol on a street sign. “The First Amendment prohibits government from any establishment of religion; the cross is a Christian symbol,” Ervin said. “It’s the same as if it had been a crescent moon or the Star of David or any symbol representing a specific faith.”

Bob Wallace, a McAlester business owner who paid for the silhouettes, said he was shocked over the removal. “It made me feel bad,” he said.

Wallace said he is going to give the silhouettes to area churches to use on their property, but he isn’t happy with the city’s decision.

“I was upset and shocked," he said. "We are in the Bible belt, this is a Christian nation. We’ve drifted so far away from Christian values.”

Stasiak said he didn’t intend to cause a problem when he had the sillhouettes taken down. “Looking back, I probably wouldn’t have removed them,” Stasiak said.

---

Details for this story were provided by the McAlester (Okla.) News-Capital.

1
Text Only
Sister Newspapers' News
Sister Newspaper Columns
AP Editor's Picks Video
Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 U.N. School in Gaza Hit by Israeli Strike Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Officials Warn of Avoidable Death in Hot Cars Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' House Committee at Odds Over Obama Lawsuit Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: UN School Used As Shelter Hit by Tank Shell Raw: Gunmen Attack Iraqi Prison Convoy Plane Leaves Ukraine With More Crash Victims The Rock Brings Star Power to Premiere Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record
National and World