Council members in a Minnesota city have voted to eliminate a free speech zone that it had just created in February as a way to try to save a veterans memorial that upset atheists because of its perceived religious symbolism. “The original intent of providing the public space was to recognize those who have bravely contributed to defending our nation through their military service,” Belle Plaine city officials said in a statement. “In recent weeks and months, though, that intent has

been overshadowed by freedom of speech concerns expressed by both religious and non-religious communities.” “The debate between those communities has drawn significant regional and national attention to our city, and has promoted divisiveness among our own residents. While this debate has a place in public dialogue, it has detracted from our city’s original intent of designating a space solely for the purpose of honoring and memorializing military veterans, and has also portrayed our city in a negative light,” they outlined. READ MORE