The following is an excerpt of a July 26 story from the Catholic News Agency.
In response to a threatened lawsuit from an atheist group, the Steubenville, Ohio city council says it will remove from its new city logo an image of the Franciscan University of Steubenville’s chapel.
The action drew criticism from Franciscan University’s vice president of advancement Michael Hernon.
“We find it particularly troubling that an out-of-town and out-of-touch group targeted the University for removal from the logo solely because of our religious identity,” Hernon said July 25 on behalf of the university.
“For more than 65 years, Franciscan University of Steubenville has proudly served as an integral part of this community and we were honored to have our chapel included in the new city of Steubenville logo.”
The city’s present logo, unveiled in December 2011, displays in silhouette the downtown cityscape and various landmarks of the city including Historic Fort Steuben, the Veterans Memorial Bridge and Franciscan University’s Christ the King Chapel.
The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation had threatened legal action over the logo’s inclusion of the chapel and the cross.
Annie Laurie Gaylor told the Steubenville Herald-Star that the logo is a symbol “that Steubenville is a theocracy and is a Christian city where non-Christians or non-believers are not favored citizens.”
She said a Steubenville citizen had contacted her organization to complain about the logo, which Gaylor said violates the U.S. Constitution because it includes the chapel.
“While we understand that Franciscan University is a part of the city, the city may not depict the university chapel and cross because to do so places the city’s imprimatur behind Christianity,” she said.
On July 24 city officials decided to change the logo, citing concerns that a legal fight would be very expensive for the city….
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