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Boone Co. Commission draft order: Desert Storm Memorial to be moved from government property

The Boone County Commission is considering the relocation of the Desert Storm Memorial from the Boone County courthouse to the Columbia Cemetery Association.

This comes nearly a month after residents expressed their feelings about the commissioners covering the Christian fish on the Desert Storm memorial.

It was covered up earlier this year after a group called Americans United for Separation of Church and State claimed it was unconstitutional.

The county took legal advice from the Brown Willbrand, P.C. law firm in Columbia.

In a 45 page draft order, attorneys with the firm said keeping the memorial where it is with the “ichthys” or Christian fish symbol could “reasonably be construed by citizens who view the Memorial as being a governmental endorsement of the Christian faith, as opposed to other religious faiths or as opposed to those who have ‘no faith at all.'”

“The Memorial, in its current form, would be found by such court to violate the requirement of religious neutrality as imposed by federal courts,” the report says.

The report goes on to say “There is no historical basis for associating this Christian symbol with Operation Desert Storm or the Gulf War.”

It also says, “The language on the Memorial which appears above the name of the two men who lost their lives, when coupled with the ichthys symbol, seems to clearly indicate, or strongly imply, that men and women who served but whose lives were not lost were all somehow Christian.”

In the conclusion summary, the law firm said the symbol on the memorial could be seen to some as preference of Boone County for the Christian faith over non-Christian faiths.

You can read the full draft order here.

The Commission will do a first read of the proposed order next month.

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