- (Photo: Studio Daniel Libeskind)
An online petition created in response to an atheist group's legal threat against a proposed Holocaust Memorial in Ohio has garnered over 27,000 signatures in two days.
Created by the American Center for Law and Justice earlier this week, the petition calls for signatories to stand against the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation's effort.
"Freedom From Religion Foundation, well-known for its relentless attacks on Christian symbols, has a new target, Holocaust survivors," reads the petition in part.
"Remembering and honoring those who suffered one of the most diabolical atrocities in human history with the Star of David does not violate the Constitution."
Jordan Sekulow, executive director for ACLJ, told The Christian Post that the petition was started to counter the Freedom From Religion's effort against the memorial.
"We track them closely, most of their attacks being Judeo-Christian, 'Under God' in the pledge or the national motto 'In God We Trust,'" said Sekulow.
"Now they have targeted the Star of David. ... How could you recognize the Jewish people in a way that would not be offensive to [the FFRF]?"
In June, the FFRF sent a letter of complaint to Ohio's Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board regarding their consideration of a Holocaust Memorial design for the Ohio Statehouse.
"I think that the Star of David is a religious symbol, and religious symbols, we have been told on several occasions, are not permissible on Statehouse grounds," wrote FFRF co-presidents Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor.
"To align the state of Ohio with one religion and its sacred symbol - even a minority religion for a worthy memorial - would dishonor the truest protection our country has against a similar Holocaust on our shores: the precious constitutional principle separating religion from government."
The winning design, which features the Star of David, was created by Daniel Libeskind, the architect behind the new World Trade Center and himself the son of Holocaust survivors.
Reportedly the first Holocaust Memorial for any U.S. Statehouse, the memorial will cost $1.8 million, which shall be derived from private donations.
In addition to the petition, ACLJ also sent a letter to Ohio Governor John Kasich on Friday as a rebuttal to the FFRF's earlier letter.
"FFRF's claim is meritless and should not deter the State from proceeding to implement the approved design proposal," reads the letter in part.
"FFRF's view of the law would prevent federal, state, and local government actors-regardless of the context or purpose-from displaying the flags of countries that include some imagery with religious origins or connotations, such as Israel (Star of David); Algeria, Pakistan, and Turkey (Crescent and Star); or Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Iceland. Australia, and the United Kingdom (Cross)."
Sekulow also old CP that while oftentimes FFRF threatens to file suit, their efforts seldom lead to success.
"They have a very bad record in court, they don't do well. Usually they do not get passed standing," said Sekulow, referring to the issue of having the legal right to sue.
"The court has been very strong in handling most of their lawsuits. Really strong language basically saying hurt feelings is not enough to bring federal lawsuits and challenges."