Atheists Fight Ohio Holocaust Memorial

Group says Star of David has no place on state grounds

By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 26, 2013 10:22 AM CDT

(Newser) – An atheist group is up in arms over a Holocaust memorial set to be erected near the Ohio statehouse, calling the monument's design "exclusionary." That design is the work of architect Daniel Libeskind, who Salon identifies as a "big deal": He's the son of Holocaust survivors and redesigned Ground Zero. The Ohio memorial features walkways leading to two panels that form a Star of David—and that, considering the planned location, is a big no-no, according to the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation.

"The Star of David is a religious symbol and a secular government is not supposed to be promoting religion, especially when there are other perfectly secular alternatives," the FFRF's co-president says, adding the memorial itself is not the issue. "We would probably give money to it if it were not on state grounds," he says. But Gov. John Kasich, who Fox News reports proposed the idea of a memorial, argues it's actually inclusive, as it's dedicated to all those killed by the Nazis, including Ohio soldiers, homosexuals, and political dissidents; a rep for Jewish Communities says the location is a well-chosen one, as the memorial will remind lawmakers "of the important role and responsibility they have in speaking out in the face of hatred, anti-Semetism, and genocide." FFRF says it does not plan to file suit.

An artists rendering rests on the proposed site where a Holocaust memorial will be built on the grounds of the Ohio Statehouse Thursday, July 18, 2013 in Columbus, Ohio.
An artists rendering rests on the proposed site where a Holocaust memorial will be built on the grounds of the Ohio Statehouse Thursday, July 18, 2013 in Columbus, Ohio.   (AP Photo/Ann Sanner)
The design concept for the Holocaust memorial by Daniel Libeskind.
The design concept for the Holocaust memorial by Daniel Libeskind.   (Daniel Libeskind Studio)
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