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Atheist Group Forces West Virginia School To Remove Crosses From Memorial

After teacher Joanne Christy died in a car accident in 2004, friends and loved ones built a memorial near the Ravenswood Middle School in West Virginia.

The atheist group Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) recently learned about the memorial and sent a letter to the school district superintendent calling for the "multiple Latin crosses" to be removed from the memorial.

In their Jan. 20 letter, the FFRF stated: "We are sensitive to the possibility that the crosses and angels are meant as a memorial. However it is the school's constitutional obligation to find a religiously neutral means of expressing remembrance in a memorial display."

Blaine Hess, Jackson County superintendent, said in a statement last week, "The matter is certainly upsetting to a community which holds strong convictions in matters of faith," noted WTAP.

"The complaint has been reviewed and initial direction has been provided to the schools involved which will move toward compliance with rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court," added Hess.

According to WSAZ, the Jackson County School Board ruled last Thursday night that the angels on the memorial can stay, but the crosses will have to be removed.

"If there is an angel, that is more so a representative of that particular person. I'm not sure there would be a legal issue with that," stated Patrick Elliott, an attorney with FFRF.

Sources:, WSAZ, WTAP
Image Credit: ErgoSum88


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