Hewett explains the reason for his lawsuit,
â€œI proudly served alongside a diverse group of soldiers with a variety of different religious beliefs,â€ he said in a news release. â€œThe City of King should be honoring everyone who served our country, not using their service as an excuse to promote a single religion.â€
The city council had voted on the removal 3-2 because of the tremendous amount of legal fees the tinyÂ town has incurred due to the lawsuit. The town has a population of 6,000 and the legal fees have exceeded $50.000.00 already and are expected to possibly reach almost $2 million.
Hewett feels that the sculpture violates his constitutional rights. He feels the sculpture promotes Christianity.
The sculpture is part of a memorial on city owned property, but it was paid for through private donations.
“I feel this city has been sabotaged and bullied by folks who don’t believe in what this community stands for,” said King City Council Member Wesley Carter who voted against the settlement. “I feel like we have been pressured by insurance companies and attorneys who have never been to King. They don’t know what we are about and what this community stands for.”
The only reason the city council came to the decision to back down and remove the sculpture is because it appeared that they would not win in court.
“When you have a judge and lawyers telling you cannot win the case, then you are throwing good money at nothing,” King City Manager Homer Dearmin said. “This came down to if we did pursue it to the next round, we would pick up more legal fees than this city could afford.”
One council member, Brian Carico was not happy with the decision at all.
“The decision I looked at that overwhelms everything else involved is that before I am a council member, before I am a husband, before I am a father or a brother or a son, is that I am a Christian,” he said. “Every word and deed I do is supposed to be in the name of Jesus Christ and I am sorry if certain people disagree with that, but I don’t disrespect you. I do ask that you respect that that is how I have to make a decision. I can’t vote to remove anything from that memorial because the intent is not there for anyone to be offended. Every veteran that memorial honors took an oath of God and country and they knew what God they were speaking of.”
Hewett will be paid $1.00 (Yes, just a dollar) and the sculpture will be removed.
Another part of the settlement, is that King City would also remove the Christian flag that was flown above the sculpture and that $500,000.00 would be paid to Americans United for Separation of Church and State for the legal costs the group incurred bringing the lawsuit on behalf of Steven Hewett.
Christian flags have been raised all across the small town in protest of the decision by local establishments and the townspeople.
There are already new sculpture plans in the making for another depiction of a soldier, just the cross will be removed.
What are your thoughts?