The Smoke of Satan in Steubenville

City Council agrees to remove image of chapel from new logo.

UPDATE: August 3, 2012 – According to Steubenville City Manager Cathy Davison, the mayor, City Council, and administration are reviewing all options regarding the city logo. At this point, no lawsuit has been filed against the City of Steubenville. Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly Alliance Defense Fund) is reportedly considering setting up a national escrow fund to help the city fight this issue. A couple quotes:

“All of the facts lead us to believe we can win this case and set a precedent going forward. And I don’t believe the FFRF will file a lawsuit. The foundation has limited legal resources. They will make a lot of threats but I don’t think they will file a lawsuit against the city. There is a lot of talking going on at this point. But the city doesn’t have to make a decision until a lawsuit is actually filed. There is still a lot of time to make a decision.” – attorney Terry McKeegan of the Alliance Defending Freedom

“It is entirely constitutional to have religious symbols outside City Hall at Christmastime, provided they are accompanied by secular symbols. It should also be constitutional to have religious symbols accompany secular ones on a city logo, especially when the former clearly represent an institution that is integrally associated with the municipality.” – Bill Donahue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights

UPDATE: August 1, 2012 – The issue is now on hold. Last night, a group of Steubenville citizens presented the City Council with a petition protesting the removal of the silhouette of the Christ the King Chapel at Franciscan University of Steubenville from the city’s unofficial logo. In addition, several attorneys have contacted the office of City Law Director Gary Repella, offering to represent the city pro-bono. How can you show your support?

  1. Sign the online petition to keep the City of Steubenville logo.
  2. Like the Steubenville Logo Facebook page.
  3. Contact Mayor Domenick Mucci, Jr.with a message of support:

The Freedom From Religion Foundation sure is … well … religious. What do I mean? These self-proclaimed “freethinkers” gloat on their homepage that “nones” are the second largest denomination in the United States – behind Catholics – according to the 2008 American Religious Identifications Survey. Yes, you read that correctly. According to their own language, non-belief is actually a religious denomination. Seriously. And they are correct. Two definitions of religion from Merriam-Webster:

  • a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices;
  • a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.

They refer to themselves as atheists and agnostics, but that’s a lie. They are most decidedly anti-theists, passionately unified to stomp out every trace of any other system of belief by legal challenge and propaganda, targeting Christianity as public enemy number one. Want proof? They offer a so-called “Debaptism Certificate”, as if baptism could somehow be undone simply by renouncing it, even without their made-up document. Laughable.


Steubenville Logo

The City of Steubenville logo, as approved in December 2011.

Their latest conquest is the City of Steubenville, OH, home of Franciscan University. The new city logo, approved in December 2011, includes a silhouette of the university’s Christ the King Chapel, one of four well-known community landmarks featured in the design. Following a threat of legal challenge from the so-called “freethinkers”, the City Council decided to remove the image of the chapel from the logo. So much for free thought.

FFRF claimed in its letter to the City that depicting the chapel with its cross “…places the City’s imprimatur behind Christianity. This excludes nonChristians and violates the Constitution.” (Yes, they actually used imprimatur, a decidedly Catholic term. They couldn’t just use “stamp of approval”?) Yet, their own news release states, “All citizens — whether Christian, Jewish, atheist or agnostic, Muslim, etc. — must be welcomed as full participants, and the only way to do that is to keep religion out of government.” Except for the religion of anti-theism, apparently.

If you think the “War on Religion” is just an election year catch-phrase, think again. Indeed, why go after little ‘ol Steubenville? If any Steubenville citizens were offended by the design, there is a process. Council meetings are open to the public. There would be a public record of the meetings and any complaints.

Were there any actual complaints, or just a threat-of-litigation letter from FFRF attorneys? Perhaps, they will be sending similar letters to the cities of San Francisco, St. Louis, and St. Paul next. Or maybe the San Diego Padres, with their obnoxious double religious (psst, Catholic) nomenclature.

Maybe not, but they have effectively stuck a pin in the heart of orthodox Catholic America. To many, Franciscan University represents bold, faithful Catholicism out in the world. If Franciscan University doesn’t hold sway in its own backyard, what is to become of the rest of the Ecclesia Militans (Church Militant)?

Perhaps, it’s time to push back. Take the HHS contraception mandate. All Catholics are asking is to be free to practice our faith in our daily lives out in the world. However, the secularists claim we’re actually trying to impose our morals on them. How? By not letting them trample our Constitutional right to free exercise of religion?

Why exactly are we allowing the anti-theists to write the script? Are we afraid they’ll throw the priest abuse scandal in our faces? Bring it on. Anti-theism isn’t exactly insurance against criminal behavior. They have nothing on us.

It’s time to stop retreating. Satan’s band of secularists isn’t going to just give up. Think about it. They had 75% of the City of Steubenville logo, and it wasn’t enough. They wanted it all. They’re not going to stop at anything short of scorched earth. It’s time for all Christians – but Catholics in particular – to stand up and combat this nonsense out in the naked public square and expose it for what it really is. Lies.


  1. says

    Definitely not! As you say there is a way for any ‘offended’ citizen of Steubenville to take the matter to City Council. I imagine the Franciscan University brings a lot of business to the city – lots of students and faculty and visitors buying necessities everyday.

  2. says

    Certainly not. However, we are a country more concerned with political correctness and bowing to the “squeaky wheel”. Freedom of speech is all well and good as long as the speech doesn’t disagree with anyone else. Extremely frustrating.

  3. Sue says

    This FFR group is the same group that ran a full page ad in the NYTimes a few months back urging Catholic women to flee the Church. Some very angry people inside that organization, I fear. With some sort of axe to grind with the Catholic Church. With the current situation in Steubenville, I cannot figure out why one organization like FFR is allowed to call the shots. Where are the citizenry of Steubenville on this? And why let the tail wag the dog? If an institution like FUS has had a happy home in Steubenville all these years, I cannot understand why those employees are not fighting back on this. I’m not convinced we’ve heard the last of this situation. Can we meet you at Chik-Fil-A next Wednesday to carry on more discussion?! ;)

  4. Steve says

    Our Lady of the Rosary came to Fatima and told us that the success or failure of the Church would take place in the context of devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Council was the door shutting closed on Our Lady’s plea. Everything since then has been trickle down disaster.

  5. says

    I’m a proud citizen of Steubenville, and a very proud supporter of FFR and the seperation of church and state. Extremely happy that my local government recognized they were in violation of the law and did the right thing.

    • says

      Hi! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Good to hear from a Steubenville resident on this matter.

      My understanding is that City Law Director Gary Repella cited the potential cost of contesting a possible legal challenge in recommending the logo change to the City Council, not a clear violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. I bet our readers would be interested to learn more about how this played out locally before the FFRF threatened litigation. For example, were any complaints registered with the City Council during the logo design and approval process?


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