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“Don’t Tear Me Down” Project Helps Cities and Towns Defend Monuments and Veterans Memorials

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January 22, 2015

Matching Grant doubles all online gifts given by January 31 to help save public displays of our national religious heritage

 

Today, like never before, cities and towns across our nation are being threatened with lawsuits from anti-religion legal bullies.  Organizations like the ACLU, Freedom From Religion Foundation and American Humanist Association are trying to tear down monuments, veterans memorials, and any public display containing religious imagery or text.

Tragically, these losses are needless because the law is on the side of religious freedom.  That’s why First Liberty Institute has launched a campaign to enable localities to fight back and win with our legal assistance.

“DON’T TEAR ME DOWN” PROJECT

First Liberty Institute is raising a financial war chest—called “Don’t Tear Me Down”—to defend towns and municipalities who stand up to anti-religious Goliaths and ensure that they are financially protected.

A generous friend has already offered a $50,000 Matching Grant to double all online gifts given to the “Don’t Tear Me Down” project by January 31, 2015.  We need the help of all friends of First Liberty Institute to match this grant to help protect our nation’s religious heritage and save monuments and memorials across America—including those at the heart of these current First Liberty Institute cases:

  • Maryland World War I Veterans Memorial (“Mothers’ Memorial”) — The American Humanist Association sued to have the historic Maryland World War I Veterans Memorial in Bladensburg, Maryland, struck down as unconstitutional and removed in Bladensburg, Maryland.  One of the oldest World War I memorials in the United States, the memorial’s cross honors 49 fallen servicemen from Prince George’s County, Maryland.  Ten mothers of these fallen sons were instrumental in having this “Mothers’ Memorial” erected in 1925.  On behalf of our client, The American Legion, First Liberty Institute filed a motion to intervene in this lawsuit and a federal Court granted this right which allowed The American Legion to join the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission as a defendant in the matter to protect the historic memorial.  
  • Ten Commandments Monument on the Oklahoma State Capitol Grounds —The ACLU filed a state court lawsuit in August 2013 to see the removal of the Ten Commandments monument from the Oklahoma state capitol grounds.  The Oklahoma Legislature and Governor previously enacted legislation authorizing First Liberty Institute to represent the State of Oklahoma alongside the Oklahoma Attorney General to defend the State in this type of case involving a Ten Commandments monument.  After a judge ruled the monument to be constitutional in September 2014, the ACLU appealed the case, and First Liberty Institute is ready to continue its defense.  Additionally, American Atheists filed a lawsuit in federal court (the ACLU lawsuit was in state court).  First Liberty Institute is also serving as counsel for Oklahoma alongside the Oklahoma Attorney General in the federal lawsuit.


NATIONAL MEDIA COVERAGE HELPS SPREAD THE WORD

First Liberty Institute’s Director of Litigation Hiram Sasser talked about the growing national crisis—and First Liberty Institute’s plans to help towns and municipalities defend their memorials and monuments at no charge—last week on FOX News’ The Real Story w/Gretchen Carlson (Click below to watch the interview).

In his interview, Sasser shared about a recent First Liberty Institute case that exposes what anti-religious bullies are trying to do in King, North Carolina:

  • The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in King, North Carolina—a city of approximately 7,000 people—is a statue of a soldier kneeling by a grave marked with a cross.
  • Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AUSCS) filed a lawsuit  against the city of King, on behalf of a resident named Steven Hewett, to have the memorial removed.  The anti-religion group alleged that the statue violated the U.S. and North Carolina Constitutions because it contains religious imagery and sits on public land.
  • First Liberty Institute represented The American Legion who intervened in this case to help save the veterans memorial from destruction.
  • Recently, the town of King, North Carolina, caved and plans to remove this treasured statue, saying that “the cost of proceeding to trial would greatly exceed the City’s insurance policy limits” which were estimated to be more than $2 million.

“If the finances had been there,” Sasser explained to Carlson in the interview on FOX News, “I think the City would have been able to continue on and win. . . . Cities are finding that their insurance carriers just don’t have enough coverage in order to defend against these lawsuits.  Not only does the City have to pay their own out-of-pocket expenses, but if they lose they have to pay the plaintiff’s side.”

FOX NEWS ANCHOR URGES VIEWERS TO TAKE A STAND

After interviewing Sasser, Carlson’s “My Take” follow-up segment allowed the Fox News anchor to address the viewer with her commentary that “common sense has to factor into the equation.”

“What’s happening now is that complainants know they can rattle towns into submission because of the litigious consequences,” Carlson said.  “And so they work with supportive organizations to do just that, and slowly but surely we all have to decide if we’re going to continue to let them win.”

Watch Carlson’s entire “My Take” below.

HELP STOP THE DESTRUCTION AND RAISE A FINANCIAL WAR CHEST

First Liberty Institute has won at all court levels, including the U.S. Supreme Court, where we helped save the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial cross when the ACLU tried to tear it down.  Our national network of the “best of the best” attorneys in America from 24 of the top 50 law firms work with us to defend religious liberty at no charge.

But we need to raise a financial war chest to defend these towns like King, North Carolina and help put an end to the easy victories of the ACLU, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and FFRF.  Never again should a veterans memorial or monument be torn down.

Please give by January 31, 2015, so that the $50,000 Matching Grant DOUBLES every dollar you give to the “Don’t Tear Me Down” project.  With every case we win, more religious symbols and actions are preserved!

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About First Liberty Institute
First Liberty Institute is a nonprofit legal group dedicated to defending and restoring religious liberty across America — in our schools, for our churches, in the military and throughout the public arena. Liberty’s vision is to reestablish religious liberty in accordance with the principles of our nation’s Founders. For information, visit www.FirstLiberty.org.

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