Alliance Defending Freedom will come to the city’s aid in the case of Steven Hewett vs. City of King.
The Alliance has agreed to provide counsel at no charge to the city. The King City Council unanimously approved the appointment of the ADF during a meeting Monday night.
The Alliance, as defined in the contract with the city, is “a civil liberties education and legal defense organization that provides legal representation.”
The Alliance Defending Freedom will face off against Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Both groups have handled cases garnering national attention in the past.
Americans United filed the lawsuit against King on behalf of local veteran Steven Hewett last year, claiming the city “is violating the U.S. and North Carolina constitutions by displaying sectarian symbols at a veterans’ memorial.” On behalf of Hewett, the group is asking the city to remove Christian symbols from its veterans memorial, including the Christian flag and a statue that depicts a soldier kneeling before a cross.
Hewett, a former police officer and decorated U.S. Army veteran, first asked the city to remove the Christian flag from the city’s veterans memorial in 2010. The request sparked strong controversy in the city and resulted in King creating a lottery system for determining which religious flag will fly at the memorial each week. The Christian flag flies most weeks of the year, which is pointed out in the lawsuit paperwork.