Lehigh Valley

Lehigh County seal ruled unconstitutional by federal judge

VIDEO: Lehigh County Seal causes...

LEHIGH COUNTY, Pa. - Since 1944, emblems representing industries of cement and agriculture can be seen on Lehigh County's seal.

But the image of a giant cross has crossed a federal line.

A Federal Judge in Easton recently ruled the symbol of Christianity makes the seal unconstitutional.

4 people from Lehigh County represented by the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation brought the suit to attention last year, saying the seal, displayed on county letterhead and inside county buildings, is an endorsement of religion and illegal under the constitution.

"The whole argument was faulty from the beginning," said Sam Rohrer, head of the American Pastors Network.

He says the group's argument isn't about separating church and state but God from Government.

"Government was not to institute a mandatory religion. It was not a reference to God. But a state religion, like was in place when England was there and had the Church of England," he said.

In his ruling the judge said the county isn't imposing a religious belief on its citizens or infringing on freedom of conscience, but basically used the eyeball test ruling any reasonable observer would perceive the seal as endorsing Christianity.

69 News did reach out to the local plaintiffs, but they declined to comment.

A member from the County Executive and Commissioners said the issue will be addressed at the next board meeting when they meet with council.

This issue has come up before.

In 2015, county commissioners voted unanimously not to change the seal. 


 


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