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Monument To Exclusion?

A few miles outside Albia, Iowa, three large stone pyramids sit abandoned in a grass field. The pyramids were built in 1939 by Axel Peterson, a local aficionado of Egyptian history; he had intended to be buried in one of them. Peterson’s final wishes were never fulfilled, but his pyramids endure, a moderately famous bit of local weirdness.

Until this year, they were arguably the most famous monuments in or around the town of Albia, population 3,795. Now they’ve been eclipsed by a new – and controversial – addition. 

‘War Memorial’ Cross Sparks Controversy In Iowa Community

Some members of an Iowa town are angry over an Americans United complaint regarding a Christian-themed veterans’ memorial on public property.

In August, AU asked officials in the town of Knoxville, a small city of about 7,000 south of Des Moines, to remove a display of a silhouetted soldier kneeling before a cross because it does not honor all veterans. The plywood cutout was made by a resident and placed in a public park without city leaders’ permission, but the town has chosen to leave the homemade display in place.

The Old Rugged Tourist Attraction?: Public Funding Of Illinois Cross Restoration Sparks Lawsuit

For years, we’ve heard the Religious Right and its allies assert that the cross is a secular symbol, not a religious one, in order to get around the Constitution and keep Christian displays on public land.

We’ve always thought that argument was pretty ridiculous, but Religious Right activists keep trying. Here’s their latest proposal:  a cross is not a religious symbol, it’s a tourist attraction.