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City of Monument threatened with federal lawsuit if religious memorial is not removed

MONUMENT, Colo. (KRDO) -- A non-profit is considering filing a lawsuit against the City of Monument for a religious memorial they say goes against the constitution.

The memorial, located at the Monument Cemetery, was created in October 2020 by a 16-year-old for his Eagle Scout Project. According to the project, it was designed to honor fallen military members, as well as his father and grandfather who both served in the military.

The memorial reads: "Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you: Jesus Christ and the American Soldier; one died for your soul, the other died for your freedom." "We honor those who made freedom a reality"

The stone tablet also has six military branch insignias placed above the phrase. Which led a small group of Monument residents, made up of active-duty members and veterans, reaching out to a non-profit about the memorial.

“It is un-American, it is unconstitutional, it violates the Colorado constitution and it is completely wrong on every possible level,” says Mikey Weinstein the founder and president of Military Religious Freedom Foundation. A civil rights advocacy organization that currently represents over 72,000 active duty military members. Weinstein says about 95% of whom identify as practicing Christians.

Weinstein says there are two main issues with the memorial. The first being that it goes against the First Amendment's Establishment clause that prohibits the government from making any law “respecting an establishment of religion.” The clause also prohibits government actions that unduly favor one religion over another.

Since the memorial was placed on public property, Weinstein argues the City of Monument is favoring one religion over others. “When it’s on public property it’s as though you are saying that the government is endorsing the fact that Jesus Christ is the only defining force that is there to ever to give his life for your soul,” Weinstein says.

The other issue is the six military branch insignias placed on the memorial. Weinstein says it goes against the Department of Defenses regulations. “One of the things in the defining regulation makes it clear that those logos can never be used to promote a partisan or sectarian political or religious agenda so here they are clearly wrong,” Weinstein says.

Weinstein says his foundation isn't trying to bully the teenager who created the memorial, "I think that the young man had a very, very worthwhile and admirable goal to honor all veterans and his dad and his grandfather but you can’t do that by mixing in the government and making it clear that the government is saying that Jesus Christ is the only God out there.” Rather, Weinstein blames the city for letting it happen.

As for Weinstein's solution to the memorial, “There is an easy way to fix it, pull out that stone, change the wording and take off the DOD logos that absolutely violate the trademark licensing rights.”

The other option is potentially being served with a lawsuit.

However, Mike Berry with First Liberty Institute, which offered to represent Monument during this controversy, says the city won't take it down. “The town of Monument has no intention of removing this memorial," Berry says.

Berry's argument is, that the memorial isn't on public property, but private property owned by the family who created it. Berry says, “It’s a private memorial on private property and therefore its private speech and it’s protected under the first amendment.”

As for the insignias, he says there is nothing illegal about using them, “The logos that are depicted on the memorial itself are permissible logos to be used.”

When asked about the memorial being on private property, Weinstein says it wasn't always that way. “It was the threat of going into federal court that forced the town of Monument to very dishonestly and disingenuously to sell the land the family about 288 hours ago,” Weinstein says.

Weinstein says his team is now looking into the sale of the private land at the cemetery, which the memorial sits on, as both sides prepare for a legal battle.

Local News

Chase Golightly

Chase is a reporter and an anchor for our weekend evening newscasts. Learn more about Chase here.

Comments

46 Comments

  1. Satan owns mr Weinstein, there are no Christians I know of who would ask for this to be removed, and if there are they are not Christians they are sheep in wolf clothing, much like our government

    1. Groups with the tribal people of the same anti Christian mindset are also behind the banning of the Christian Cross and Nativity scene from the White House lawn while they got a giant menorah allowed to be errected every year.

          1. Good, I attempt to fool no one. I merely utilize your own statements and then make you have to explain, rationalize, and then justify them. Your opinion of me is a moot point, as I do not value your opinion.

  2. This just shows you how evil and close we are to the end times. Jesus is coming for His church. Please believe in Jesus’s redemptive work on the cross before its too late.

    1. Odd. Fully 68% of the world’s population are something other than Christian. Only 37% of Americans identified as Protestant in 2020.
      _ _ _ _ _ _ _
      Somehow I think it’s possible to love Jesus and still honor the Constitution of the United States. Also not to wish for or look forward to the “end” of more than half the world’s population, and label them as “evil.”

  3. If “Jesus Christ” was replaced with Buddah or Allah would you have the same opinion? If not, then you are advocating the establishment of a single religion which is exactly what the lawsuit is about. There are many paths to “God”.

    1. At least 2 in 5 so far understood the rationale behind this lawsuit. There are more faiths than just Christianity, and certainly more paths to spirituality as well. I still amazes me of the levels of judgement and intolerance that comes from a faith that preaches tolerance and acceptance.

      1. Most unfortunate and obvious that you need Jesus Christ in your life. There are other religions out there, but Jesus is the only doorway to life eternal. You should give serious consideration and seek to know the truth yourself. Have you ever considered what if Jesus is right and you are wrong, are you prepared to go to hell for all eternity? Your life right now is but a blink of an eye compared to eternity. One day your body will die, but your spirit will go on existing either in the presence of the one and true God, or in hell. It will be your choice, no one but yourself makes that choice.

        1. “At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul”. – Billy Madison

    2. If Buddah or Allah died for humanity and/or American freedom, then it would fit the message, and I wouldn’t have a problem with it.

      1. Hmm, funny, the 1st amendment doesn’t say that it only applies to beliefs which further “American freedom” as you put it. And who gets to decide which beliefs do?

        1. No, it doesn’t as you say, but you never quite finish reading the rest of the First Amendment. This Scout should be allowed to fully exercise his faith. If another scout wanted to build another monument dedicated to some other faith, I wouldn’t have a problem with it. Why? Because I want people to be able to exercise their faith freely, that’s freedom for you to insult mine and freedom for me to practice mine.

          1. Nothing is stopping him from exercising his faith using his own resources. Nobody has a *right* to abuse government property for their own religious agendas.

            The local government violated constitutional law and DOD trademarks by agreeing to host this sectarian monument.

    1. you mean ‘murican…
      America still follows that 1st Amendment, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
      ‘murica represents your sentiments.

    2. The only filth I see is you. Sad that your civics teachers failed to educate you. Sincerely hope that you better educate yourself regarding the benefits of government/religion separation at some point.

  4. Last paragraph say is all. The monument is now on private land. Looks like Weinstein will now have to go find another city to file his frivolous lawsuits in.

    1. There’s still the DOD symbols, and the local government not going through the proper channels to make a sweetheart sale of public land.

  5. I would like to make a correction to your news broadcast last night regarding the Memorial in Monument.

    The Memorial is a Veterans Memorial, not a religious memorial as reported. My son, when deciding on a project for his Eagle, realized that Monument did not have a Veterans Memorial. He grew up attending Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) meetings and service projects, has played Taps at the National VFW Joint Memorial Service, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VhulhkUSm0 (you will see him being introduced and playing Taps as he honored those who died, towards the end of the video). More closer to home, his dad, a Vietnam Combat Veteran, exposed to Agent Orange, is now ill with no cure, and his grandfather, who he knew well, was a WWII veteran.
    Michael first chose to place a Battlefield Cross sculpture at the Memorial he was designing, which you did not show during your report. The Battlefield Cross is a symbol used by all faiths, to honor a fallen soldier. The verse he chose for the monument, together with the Battlefield Cross, expressed the theme he was after, that the American soldier dies for our freedom, again part of the verse not mentioned during the broadcast. It should be noted, as well, that prior to construction he properly contacted the branches of service for permission to use the challenge coins at the Veterans Memorial.
    This is not a religious memorial, but a Veterans Memorial, one designed to honor all military personnel, each and every one of them. So, for those who took the oath to support and defend, we stand by what the monument says, “We honor those who made freedom a reality”.

    1. How does not being a Christian or moreover wanting religious equality make one an anti Christ? How does equality for all religions equate to hatred and bigotry towards Christians?

      1. By using your same logic you have provided here and all of your rhetoric you spew about ANTIFA (anti-fascism) does that make you a fascist?

        1. Relax bigot, your over reaching justification for Anti Christian bigotry is obviously part of the problem Christians face in America….Go stuff it!!

          1. Wow, sore spot huh? Wanting equality for all religions equals anti Christian bigotry, who knew!

  6. It is on private property. So there is the technical point that keeps it there. It does not violate the separation of church and state.
    So here is something to think of if you think I am wrong. In the PP National cemetery are religious symbols prohibited from the grave stones? Nope. That is technically govt property, but the grave site belongs to the deceased as private property.

    1. “When asked about the memorial being on private property, Weinstein says it wasn’t always that way. “It was the threat of going into federal court that forced the town of Monument to very dishonestly and disingenuously to sell the land the family about 288 hours ago,” Weinstein says.”

  7. Mr. Weinstein and his Christian group sound very angry about something. This is a memorial in a Christian cemetary, where “no one rests for free”. The city might maintain it but as far as I know, there are no free plots. Is this really worth the time, effort, and money to lawyers? Please Mr. Weinstein and members of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation: if you really are dedicated to religious freedom, than seek out true injustice instead of bowing to your overhyed up sense of injustice that is so unfortunately prevalent these days.

  8. Guess we’ll have to cancel the “Battle Hymn of the Republic”, too. The sentiment is reflected towards the end of the song:

    In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea
    With a glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me
    As he died to make men holy let us die to make men free
    His truth is marching on

  9. Agnostic veteran and not offended by the memorial. More offended that the MRFF has decided to publicly call out the Eagle Scout and town, along with the hack journalist from the CSINDY.

  10. “…the First Amendment’s Establishment clause that prohibits the government from making any law “respecting an establishment of religion.”
    .
    Ooops! Mr. Weinstein, you left out part of it… again. Here, I’ll fix it for you:
    .
    “the First Amendment’s Establishment clause that prohibits the government from making any law “respecting an establishment of religion, OR PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF.”

    1. The Free Exercise Clause applies to citizens, and is to the extent of a citizen’s resources. Government property isn’t a resource for this boy scout to abuse. The No Establishment Clause applies to the local government that gave preferential treatment to this sectarian memorial, which violates said clause.

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