Months after atheists first demanded that a World War I and II monument be removed from in front of a Woonsocket, Rhode Island, fire hall, the debate is nowhere near over. The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), the atheist group at the center of the debate, is refusing to back down, as citizens continue to defend the monument's presence. In a second letter to local leaders, the FFRF is, once again, urging officials to remove the cross.
In April, TheBlaze first reported about the group's demand that the monument be removed from public lands. As you may recall, one week after the story broke, a fierce response erupted, with an estimated 1,500 people assembling against atheists’ demands and in support of the monument.
Despite massive push-back, atheists maintain that the cross must be relocated. Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the FFRF, has demonstrated that her group is devoted to fighting it. Expressing confidence a few months back, Gaylor said that she suspects that the issue can be resolved without a long court battle.
“The law is on our side. We are not against veterans in any way. It isn’t necessary to honor veterans with a cross on public property,” she previously said in an interview with the Associated Press. “I think that reason is not prevailing right now. This is a lot of blowhards and emotion. Maybe they’ll get it out of their system.”
In a second letter, the FFRF is asking the city for an official legal response to its demand that the monument be removed -- something that Mayor Leo Fontaine claims simply will not happen. However, the city's leader will respond to the atheist group in an official press release scheduled on Friday at 5 p.m. at the Museum of Public Works, WPRO reports. The event will feature a video, the city's formal response and comments from Joe Larisa, Woonsocket's attorney.
"Hopefully this puts an end to it," Fontaine said, going on to defend the monument. "I think our monument is certainly different than a lot of these issues that have popped up across the country and we do need to take a pretty strong stand and make sure people understand that."
With neither party backing down, it will be intriguing to see where the story will go next. Currently, citizens are supporting the monument by placing white crosses in their front yards. Regardless of the level of support for keeping it where it is, the FFRF seems intent on having the religious symbol moved.
TheBlaze will continue to bring you updates on this story.