Roselle Park removes veterans statue with Christian cross amid lawsuit

Shirleen Allicot Image
Friday, October 7, 2016
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Shirleen Allicot reports.

ROSELLE PARK, New Jersey (WABC) -- A New Jersey town has removed a veterans memorial depicting a Christian cross following a lawsuit that claimed it excluded non-Christian veterans.

The Roselle Park borough council voted unanimously on Thursday to dismantle the statue outside the Roselle Park Veterans Memorial Library.

The statue depicts a soldier kneeling over a grave marked by a cross, bought by Mayor Carl Hokanson with his own money back in July. He thought it would be a great addition to the library, but the American Humanist Association -- along with Councilwoman-at-large Charlene Storey and her husband Gregory Storey -- sued the borough saying the cross represented a government endorsement of religion.

It's created a heated debate in the small community, with many people saying its not about religion and should stay up.

Storey contends it's not about veterans or even the constituents, but about the Constitution. Mayor Hokanson plans to leave the carving at a nearby church, before it is given to a resident in the community.