Movement to save chapel in Steubenville city logo grows

Movement to save chapel in Steubenville city logo grows

Steubenville, Ohio, Aug 10, 2012 / 04:03 am (CNA).- The Steubenville City Council’s decision to remove the silhouette of the Franciscan University chapel from the city’s logo has been met with opposition from the local community.

“A town should be able to define itself as it sees fit without being dictated to by an out of state special interest group (that has) no knowledge or understanding towards our community,” local business owner Chris Wendt told CNA Aug. 8.

The city’s July 24 announcement that it would remove Franciscan University’s chapel from its new logo was made after the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation threatened legal action.

(read more)

More details about the effort to save the logo, including an online petition, can be found at



City Pride Week features logo

“Steubenville is our town. Whether it is a Steubenville logo or a Steubenville landmark, we take pride in our community and we encourage everyone else to do the same,” said Mark Nelson, co-owner of Nelson Fine Arts and Gifts.

“We decided to initiate Steubenville Pride Week in response to the attacks and threats of a lawsuit from the Madison, Wis., organization. My wife. Gretchen. and I are transplants to the community and have long worked to become involved through our business, church, social and civic activities. One of our goals is to make Steubenville a place our eight children can be proud to call home,” Nelson declared.

He said half of the proceeds from the sale of logo-related items, including mugs, key chains, T-shirts, hoodies and license plate frames as well as bumper stickers and yard signs during Steubenville Pride Week will be donated to the Save the Grand Theater project.

City to hear from law firms which have offered pro bono assistance

Attorneys representing four law firms will try to persuade city leaders Tuesday afternoon to fight a legal threat from the Freedom From Religion Foundation to sue the city over an unofficial logo that contains a cross and a silhouette of the Christ the King Chapel on the Franciscan University of Steubenville campus.

City Law Director S. Gary Repella said 10 law firms initially offered to help the city in a legal fight with the Madison, Wis.,-based foundation, and city officials narrowed the list to four firms.

“The City Council members have indicated they will listen to those four firms during a special executive session Tuesday afternoon. The council and administration will then discuss which direction they want to go,” explained Repella.

One of the major concerns of the city is that they could be saddled with the plaintiff’s legal fees if the city loses in court.

A secret compromise is being discussed at present. :wink:

Following local resistance the Steubenville City Council now will only remove the cross from its city logo:

  • After the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation - gets its state to drop the syllables “con” and “sin” from its name.

  • And pay reparations to whatever Indian tribe they stole the name from. Studies show that
    though considered “primitive” most midwestern tribes held spiritual beliefs, and in the
    vicinity of what is today Madison, Wisconsin, many native American tribes converted
    to Catholicism under the tutelage of Missionary Jacques Marquette and explorer Louis

I went to college in Madison, WI and have heard Dan Barker (founder of that atheist group) speak. He is a former fundamentalist and while he’s dropped God, he’s absolutely as opinionated and determined to dominate others as ever. There won’t be a reasonable accomodation because these people aren’t reasonable. They hate christianity and won’t be satisfied until we shut up and accept a society in which faith is a private peculiarity that the state generously tolerates, but only behind closed doors.

They are total hypocrites. They expect government to adopt defacto atheism as the state religion as a bizarre interpretation of “separation of church and state.” As if recognizing the role the university plays in civic identity of the town coerces anybody into accepting it’s beliefs. How pathetic is that argument?

Exactly right! This is not an establishment of religion, as the Constitution prohibits. It is a city logo that reflects an important part of the city’s history.


Not to mention that the university is an important part of the city’s reputation and economy.

That really is true. The college was not terribly significant to the town until the last 30 years or so. I suspect that is part of what has the Barkerites so worked up. They’re resigned to the fact that long ago people had that sad affliction of religious superstition, but get irate if anybody suggests that religious people are a current and relevant segment of TODAY’S society.

What’s the point? Franciscan University/Steubenville is in retreat from the fight against the HHS mandate forcing insurance coverage that includes birth control and sterilization; and instead of simply refusing to comply, and forcing a confrontation, F.U./S. removed insurance coverage for students and employees. What’s the point in looking like a civic bulwark when you’re not willing to fight for constitutional rights? Evangelical stalwart Wheaton College is suing along with D.C.'s Catholic University of America, and demands a ruling by September 30th. God bless such as these.

That is a highly misleading post. First, this thread concerns the city of Steubenville and not Franciscan University

Second, Franciscan University is suing the federal government and seeks to have the mandate declared unconstitutional.

What is the point, you ask? The point is to defend the city of Steubenville, and its pride in hosting Franciscan University, which plays a vital role in the town’s economy and culture.

I see no point in attacking the university simply because you disagree with how it chooses to oppose the HHS mandate. Certainly, Franciscan University should be prized for its commitment to Catholic values and teachings. Dismissing the university for what amounts to a difference in political tactics is misguided.

Right on, Franciscan University. Keep the chapel on the city seal. But how will F.U./S have standing to sue over the constitutionality of the HHS mandate if they cancelled their health insurance coverage? It would then be a moot point, would it not?

They still insure their employees. All they did was get rid of the student plan (which many students didn’t take advantage of anyway because they are still on their parents’ plans).

Like Dale said, though, this logo issue isn’t really the University’s fight. This was the new logo designed by a Steubenville resident and approved by the Steubenville City Council.

Challenges to legal standing are routinely made by lawyers, and its up to the judges to decide. But I think a good argument can be made that the mandate effectively deprives Franciscan University the ability to offer health insurance without violating the university’s religious beliefs.

At any rate, Franciscan University is in the fight. Even if they are ultimately dismissed as a plaintiff, they will continue to provide support to opposing the mandate.

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