Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof
Consisting of a cross (faith), an anchor (hope), and a large red heart (charity), the City seal for DeLand, Florida, was approved and adopted in 1882.
However, this year that approval is challenged. A group formed in 1947 now calling themselves Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) decided it was time to blow the whistle on such blatant symbolism. It is calling the heart, anchor, and cross an “unconstitutional establishment of religion” and saying that the symbols are "without secular reason for their presence."
The group demands either removal of the "three religious symbols" from the city seal or that the City "suspend use of the seal altogether."
The seal is a part of DeLand's historical founding
City Manager Michael Pleaus issued the following statement:
"The seal was voted on March 1882, the day it was incorporated. So, it's an important part of our history. We will not stop using the seal."
Local historian Billy DeSilva referenced two of the city's founders, Henry DeLand and John Stetson, as he commented:
"You can't change history. History was made here and the town was made based on what Mr. DeLand and Mr. Stetson believed. They were very religious men, they were both Baptist."
The AU group tends to ignore history or foundational beliefs when they contradict its mission and interpretation of the First Amendment.
Liberty Counsel has offered to defend the City pro bono as shown in their very powerful letter to Mayor Robert F. Apgar. Please read as they explain against AU's deceptive, "relentless and all-pervasive attempt to exclude religion from every aspect of public life" and how their view is "inconsistent with the Constitution."
AU's letter to Mayor Robert F. Apgar