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Associated Press – December 5, 2007

SPOKANE, Wash. – The city’s Police Department will remove crosses from its chaplain badges to settle a lawsuit filed by a Lutheran pastor-turned-atheist.
“It’s a milestone,” said Ray Ideus, 75, who volunteers eight hours a week for the department, and filed the lawsuit in 2006.
“It’s very important that they’ll have to take that cross off. It’s not a Christian police department. The chaplains have to minister to all faiths and non-faiths.”
Ideus was a Lutheran pastor for 30 years before he became an atheist. His volunteer duties do not including work as a chaplain.
Chaplains’ badges up to now have included the city seal and a Christian-Latin cross. Chaplains may still wear lapel pins with crosses or other insignia showing personal religious preferences, said Police Chief Anne E. Kirkpatrick. She announced the settlement to the City Council Monday night.
According to Ideus’ lawsuit, putting the cross on police chaplain badges is an “impermissible incorporation of a particular religious symbol in a government insignia.”
He was countersued by Assistant City Attorney Rocco N. “Rocky” Treppiedi, who claimed the lawsuit was “false, and unfounded, malicious and without probable cause.” The countersuit also is being dismissed under the settlement.
Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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