An Iowa fire truck is at the center of a debate regarding religious symbols on public property.
The Cedar Rapids Civil Rights Commission has complained about a religious image on a fire truck that has been a part of the fire department for nearly 17 years. The image shows a firefighter, with what looks like the shadow of Christ behind him holding a staff. The words “The Lord is my Shepard” are pictured at the bottom of the image, a local CBS affiliate reported.
“We have an image that may be considered Christian … and they were wondering if any government dollars had been used to put it on there,” said the commission’s executive director, John-Paul Chaisson-Cardenas.
Mr. Chaisson-Cardenas said he had received “a friendly complaint” about the image a week and a half ago, so he contacted the fire chief.
“That image was on the truck when we bought it. We did not ask for that. We did not pay any money for it,” Fire Chief Mark English told CBS. “A lot of them take personal solace in it and faith in it. They like it. They want to see it stay.”
Mr. English said he’s willing to change the image and is working with the commission and the ecumenical council to find solution.
“We have two opportunities on this one. One is to, you know, we could erase it … however we have a wonderful opportunity to include other people in our community,” Mr. Chaisson-Cardenas told the station.