National group calls on Seneca to remove religious image

Seneca City Council could soon decide whether to remove a cross from the site of its water treatment plant.

Officials at the plant signed off on the memorial to honor Chuck Keeler, 54, an employee who died on site in 2014.

But the Freedom from Religion Foundation says the cross is unconstitutional and doesn’t belong on government property.  It wrote a letter to the city of Seneca calling for it to be taken down. Keeler’s daughter says it shouldn’t be removed.

“My dad was a Christian,” said Ashley Cantrell. “They placed this cross here to honor him and also to help them cope with the situation because it was a great loss to this community.”

Board members had an executive meeting on Tuesday evening to discuss the removal of the cross. The public was not allowed to attend this meeting.

According to Ashley Cantrell, daughter to Chuck Keeler said no decisions were made Tuesday night.

There is another meeting on March 8th where the public and community member are welcome to come and express their opinions.

The Seneca Mayor said in a statement regarding this case,

I would like to address the issue of the cross in the rock wall at the water plant. As you know, during the recent construction at the water plant, there was a tragic accident which resulted in the death of a construction workers.

Because of that incident, and the effect it had on the project team, a subtle tribute was made in remembrance of Chuck Keeler. This was done as a collaborative effort of all parties.

While I appreciate the concern that some may think this display to be an endorsement by a public body of a certain religion, it is my opion that this memorial and remembrance to life lost; which is located at an opening facility, behind a locked fence, unseen from public view; is anything but a religious endorsement.

 

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