Pastor-Turned-Atheist Forces Police Chaplains to Remove Crosses

Chaplains working in the city police department in Spokane, Wash., will have to remove all crosses from their badges to settle a lawsuit filed by a Christian pastor turned atheist.

Ray Ideus, a former Lutheran pastor of 30 years, claimed in his suit that the Christian-Latin cross included on the badges worn by chaplains in the Spokane Police Department is an "impermissible incorporation of a particular religious symbol in a government insignia."

"It's very important that they'll have to take that cross off. It's not a Christian police department," said Ideus, 75, according to the Associated Press.

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"The chaplains have to minister to all faiths and non-faiths."

Ideus was countersued by the city attorney who asserted the lawsuit was "false, unfounded, malicious, and without probable cause." The countersuit is being dismissed, however, as part of the settlement, which Police Chief Anne E. Kirkpatrick announced to the City Council Monday night.

To those chaplains who wish to show their personal religious preferences, Kirkpatrick said they may still wear lapel pins with crosses or other insignia.

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