California city threatened with lawsuit for wanting to ax saint’s image from county seal, police badges
VENTURA, California, August 5, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — What started as massive civil unrest could become an uphill legal battle for Ventura County, California, and the City of Ventura, California. Thomas More Society attorneys sent them a demand letter on August 5, 2020. The letter warns the county executive officer and city mayor that they are displaying unconstitutional hostility to the Catholic religion and subscribing to anti-Catholic animus in removing a statue of the “Apostle of California” Fr. Junipero Serra from its longstanding location outside City Hall, and considering the removal of the Catholic Hispanic Saint’s image from the county seal and city police badges.
The letter, signed by Thomas More Society Special Counsel Charles LiMandri, and Jeffrey Trissell, both of LiMandri and Jonna LLP, addresses the county and city’s kowtowing to the radical demands of a vile anti-Catholic online petition.
“Instead of pushing back against this ahistorical, anti-Catholic bigotry,” the missive reports, “the City of Ventura published a letter stating that it ‘believe[d] the time has come for the [Fr. Serra] statue to be taken down and moved to a more appropriate non-public location.”
LiMandri explained the basic problem with the city and county succumbing to the newly arisen hordes of icon-toppling rabble rousers. “The First Amendment affirmatively mandates accommodation, not merely tolerance, of all religions, and forbids hostility toward any. The government must neither abdicate its responsibility to maintain a division between church and state nor evince a hostility to religion by disabling the government from, in some ways, recognizing our religious heritage.”
Fr. Serra, a Hispanic Saint, and the first person to be canonized in the United States, is revered by Catholics worldwide. Long honored throughout the State of California, Fr. Serra is credited with establishing the Franciscan Missions in the Sierra Gorda, a mission in Baja California, and nine Spanish missions in California from San Diego to San Francisco, in what was then Spanish-occupied Alta California.
LiMandri continued, “For all Catholics, the only reasonable way to view the attacks on Fr. Serra is to see them as assaults by those who hate Catholics and who hate that they evangelized native peoples.”
The letter noted that the removal of the Fr. Serra statue from in front of Ventura’s city hall has already resulted in litigation and expresses hope that further litigation need not be pursued. That would only occur should authorities decide to remove Fr. Serra’s image from the Ventura County Seal, City of Ventura Police Badges, or other prominent, municipal locations.
Read the demand letter Re: Removal of St. Junípero Serra from County and City Display issued August 5, 2020, to Ventura County, California, County Executive Office Michael Powers, and Ventura, California, Mayor Matthew LaVere, by Thomas More Society Special Counsel Charles LiMandri, and Jeffrey Trissell, both of LiMandri and Jonna LLP, here.