Movement to save chapel in Steubenville city logo grows
By Hillary Senour
Christopher Wendt stands in front of the Christ the King Chapel on the campus of Franciscan University of Stuebenville.
Christopher Wendt stands in front of the Christ the King Chapel on the campus of Franciscan University of Stuebenville.

.- 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.

Local residents responded to the decision with concern, and many of  them are voicing their support for the original design.

“There's a lot of people all over the country that are concerned about this and are willing to support and stand with the City of Steubenville,” he said.

Wendt, who is founder and president of the Steubenville-based web design firm HyperDo Media, created an online petition allowing people to show support for the original city logo which was unveiled, but not officially adopted, in December 2011.

The petition site, which was launched just over a week ago and has gained over 500 signatures, was created “for those who believe in freedom of religion and self-determination,” Wendt said.

Since the threat of a lawsuit was raised, local attorneys Terry McKeegan and Brian Scarnecchia, among others, have offered pro-bono legal assistance to the city, should a case develop. Wendt hopes that his website will help “amplify” their efforts.

“What is at stake is religious freedom,” Wendt said.

When the city announced it would remove the chapel from its logo, Franciscan University, which provides over 450 jobs and millions of dollars of revenue each year to the area, declined the offer to be represented in the logo by another campus building.

“No other campus symbol or architectural feature so immediately identifies the University,” said Michael Hernon, Franciscan's president of advancement, in a July 25 press release.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation's Annie Laurie Gaylor told the Steubenville Herald-Star that the logo symbolizes “that Steubenville is a theocracy and is a Christian city where non-Christians or non-believers are not favored citizens.”

She said a Steubenville citizen had contacted her organization to complain about the logo, which Gaylor said violates the U.S. Constitution because it includes the chapel.

Wendt said that although Franciscan's chapel was not chosen for religious reasons, anti-religious intentions are behind the push for its removal.

“Because (the Freedom From Religion Foundation) made it a religious freedom issue, it's attacking every Catholic in the United States,” Wendt said.

For that reason, he asserted, “every Catholic should be worried (about) how next they will lose their religious freedom.”

“If I don't go on record fighting for my own religious freedom as a Catholic, then I'll deserve the blame of my children and grandchildren.”

For more information on Wendt's efforts to keep the chapel in the city's logo, visit:

Tags: Religious freedom, Secularization

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic

Liturgical Calendar

April 18, 2014

Friday of the Passion of the Lord (Good Friday)

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Jn 18:1 - 19:42


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Is 52:13-53:12
Second Reading:: Heb 4:14-16; 5:7-9
Gospel:: Jn 18:1-19:42

Homily of the Day

Jn 18:1 - 19:42


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: