Praying soldier silhouette must be removed from city park

Published 7:35 am Thursday, July 20, 2017

BELLE PLAINE — A Minnesota community caught up in the debate over religious symbols in public places will eliminate a free speech zone at its veterans’ memorial park.

Privately owned displays in the free speech zone, including the silhouette of a soldier praying over a grave marked with a cross, must be removed within ten days.

The Madison, Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation threatened to sue the city of Belle Plaine over the silhouette. The cross was removed once the issue was raised, but more than 100 residents rallied to put it back.

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The Star Tribune says the Satanic Temple of Salem, Massachusetts petitioned the city to install a monument to honor nonreligious service members. But it was never erected.

Belle Plaine is about 45 miles (73 kilometers) southwest of Minneapolis.