In Monument, Colorado, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), labeled as an activist "watchdog" group, wants a monument honoring military men and women removed because the veterans' memorial allegedly included Christian sentiments, a report says.
Per the Christian Headlines, the marker, erected in the Town of Monument cemetery, has a plaque with carved words that read, "Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you, Jesus Christ and the American soldier. One died for your soul, the other died for your freedom. We honor those who made freedom a reality."
MRFF also called the monument a "wretched, unconstitutional dumpster fire" and an "unconstitutional gambit/scheme," and stated that it was a "violation" of the separation of church and state.
Meanwhile, in a letter addressed to MRFF President Mikey Weinstein, the First Liberty Institute, the legal group representing the town of Monument, explained that the monument was built through the efforts of a young local Eagle Scout Michael Carlson.
"Your letters and public communications to the media seek to disparage his efforts and the private speech of this 16-year-old resident of the Town of Monument," the letter read.
In closing, First Liberty expressed its appreciation for all efforts by the community, including the Boy Scouts, to honor their veterans. It urged MRFF to issue an immediate apology to Carlson and his family.
MRFF responds: no issue with the Boy Scout
In response to the First Liberty letter, Weinstein told the Colorado Springs Indy that they have no issue with Carlson and added "We have issues with the Boy Scout troop and the town of Monument, and government dollars being used to place it and maintain it."
The same Indy report added that, on March 29, Weinstein directed his protestation to First Liberty and the Town of Monument, harping on their alleged "deplorable, cowardly and transparent attempts to use Eagle Scout Michael Carlson as a veritable 'human shield'"
Weinstein also contends the memorial's use of the logos of various military branches, questioning the legality of using trademarked images.
MRFF has an ally
Americans United (AU) for Separation of Church and State, in a letter dated February 25, also took up the cause for removal of the monument.
In a report posted in AU's website, its attorneys sent a letter to Monument town officials, saying, "Displaying a message that indicates that the Town is affiliated with a Christian belief unmistakably sends the message that the Town favors those who follow its preferred religion and that members of other faiths and nonbelievers will be treated differently."
It added that "It is also profoundly disrespectful to the Town's fallen non-Christian veterans and a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution."
The veterans' memorial, completed in September 2020, is also called the "Fallen Soldier Battle Cross." It features a pair of combat boots, a rifle placed upright, and a combat helmet on the end of the barrel. It also includes a flagpole, a "Battlefield Cross" sculpture, a crescent stonewall, and a marker recognizing the project's donors.