110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
Group asks that religious symbols be removed
By Jen Horton
posted Sep 3, 2013 - 8:40:51am
A group dedicated to the separation of church and state has given the City of DeLand 30 days to take action about the city seal.
The group objects to religious symbols in the seal.
On March 11, 1882, DeLand's founders ordered that the city seal would be the size of a half-dollar, with a heart, an anchor and a cross at the center.
A little more than 131 years later, in a letter dated Aug. 23, Americans United for Separation of Church and State demanded the "three religious symbols" on the city seal be removed, or that use of the seal be suspended altogether.
Noting that it was responding to a complaint received about DeLand's seal, Americans United wrote, "The seal features three emblems: A Latin cross, and anchor and a heart. Together, these three images are widely understood to symbolize the Christian 'theological virtues' discussed by Paul the Apostle in 1 Corinthians 13:13."
The nonprofit organization's letter is not notice of a pending a lawsuit, but it cites six lawsuits that have similar themes. Of the six, four were decided in favor of the plaintiffs who objected to the religious symbols.
The "faith, hope and charity" seal, City Manager Michael Pleus said, has been used to represent DeLand "Since Day One."
To his knowledge, in 131 years, there has not been an official complaint about the city seal, Pleus said.
Read the whole story, in the September 2-4, 2013 Midweekedition of The Beacon. To subscribe to The Beacon online, click here. For a list of newsstand locations, click here. To have the print edition mailed to your home twice a week, send your address via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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