BLOGThe Freedom From Religion Foundation’s Crusade to Ban Religion from the Public Square

By Sarah Kramer Posted on: | March 28, 2018

The Ten Commandments. Nativity scenes. Public prayer. The cross. The Pledge of Allegiance.

These are a few of the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s least favorite things. And they all are things that the FFRF would like to see completely erased from the public square.

One of the latest victims to be caught up in their zealous efforts to remove every mention of religion from public life is Lehigh County in Pennsylvania.

lehighcountyseal-stmtimg-031918FFRF is claiming that because the county seal includes a cross symbol, it shows Lehigh County is establishing Christianity as the government-approved religion, violating the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

But that is ridiculous. And it’s simply not true.

The fact is that the seal honors the history of Lehigh County. And Alliance Defending Freedom filed an amicus brief in support of the county and its seal.

There are many other symbols on the seal, including the historic Lehigh County Courthouse, the Liberty Bell, a bison representing the herd at Trexler Nature Preserve, and a heart representing Allentown – the county’s largest city. Each one has some significance in Lehigh County history.

As for the cross symbol, it represents the Christians who originally settled in and began Lehigh County.

It’s hard to deny the religious heritage of the area. Pennsylvania, after all, was originally founded by William Penn as a safe haven for his fellow Quakers.

But its historical significance is not enough for FFRF. The atheist/agnostic organization has been plaguing the Lehigh County Board of Commissioners calling for a removal of the cross symbol for more than three years.

FFRF originally sent a letter to the Lehigh Board of Commissioners in 2014, demanding that they remove the cross from its seal. FFRF sent another letter in 2015.

The Board of Commissioners, in a reply letter, told FFRF that "the cross, one of more than a dozen elements, was included to honor the original settlers of Lehigh County, who were Christian." And the commissioners voted unanimously to keep the seal the way it is.

In 2016, FFRF filed a lawsuit against Lehigh County. And recently, a federal judge ruled that including the cross in the seal is unconstitutional. The commissioners voted to continue the case and have appealed the decision.

As they should have.

After all, acknowledging the heritage of Pennsylvania’s founders is not an establishment of religion; it’s simply a historical fact.


Get updates on the work ADF is doing to defend religious freedom across the country and world.
Send Me Updates

Sarah Kramer

Digital Content Specialist

Sarah worked as an investigative reporter before joining the Alliance Defending Freedom team.

More from ADF View All

The Government Added Abortion to This Church’s Health Care Plan without Notice

Religious Freedom

The Government Added Abortion to This Church’s Health Care Plan without Notice

No matter where you stand on abortion, this should strike you as extreme over...

Mr. Funny | Words | Author | I'm the icon | www | 09/14/2018 22:18:17 Read More

4 Must-Haves to Defend Christian and Conservative Students (Hint: You Might Be One of Them)

Religious Freedom

4 Must-Haves to Defend Christian and Conservative Students (Hint: You Might Be One of Them)

Here are just four of the things it often takes to successfully defend studen...

Mr. Funny | Words | Author | I'm the icon | www | 09/18/2018 17:02:32 Read More

Planned Parenthood Has a New President... And the Same False Talking Points

Sanctity of Life

Planned Parenthood Has a New President... And the Same False Talking Points

Planned Parenthood announced that Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen...

Mr. Funny | Words | Author | I'm the icon | www | 09/13/2018 22:27:21 Read More

This Constitution Day, Let Us Remember the Importance of the First Amendment

Culture

This Constitution Day, Let Us Remember the Importance of the First Amendment

Our most sacred natural rights are given to us by God, but they are protected...

Mr. Funny | Words | Author | I'm the icon | www | 09/17/2018 21:18:02 Read More