Religious images must be all or none

The Gazette Opinion Staff
Published: March 15 2014 | 11:05 am - Updated: 1 April 2014 | 9:38 am in

Regarding the religious image on the Cedar Rapids fire truck, this issue is pretty cut and dry. Regardless of your faith, the firetruck is owned by the city. It’s not the personal property of any individual firefighter or the collective body of firefighters. No one is seeking to infringe on the rights of firefighters. No one is preventing firefighters from praying, from wearing their Saint Florian medallions or crosses/crescents/stars/hammers/etc. City-owned equipment is not the proper place for a message that opens the city to litigation.

That the image and text is Christian in nature is not really relevant. However, consider the problems such a display, if allowed to stand, would create. Picture a city maintenance worker who decides to put a similar image and message on a city-owned maintenance vehicle, except that the worker is Jewish, Muslim, Wiccan, Pastafarian, Satanist or atheist. Are those of you who are quick to defend a Christian message also equally quick to defend these other messages as being appropriate?

There are two legal options:

l Any and all religious messages are to be accepted and included on this vehicle. They are to be given equal space and protections.

l No such messages are to be permitted.

I wouldn’t want my firetrucks to become billboards proselytizing for any and all faiths.

Joe Stutler



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