secular. To support their contention that the relevant legislative purpose is found much later than in the Minutes accompanying the seal's original adoption, the city points to the Minutes of City Council, May 20, 1986, in which the City Council voted to retain the city seal in its current form for historical reasons. The Minutes do not clearly demonstrate that the Council's vote to retain the seal was motivated purely for historical purposes. In any event, and especially with respect to the later-developed logo, this issue is not dispositive because, as we discuss below, the effect of the seal, emblem, and logo is not secular.
In fact, the effect of the seal, emblem, and logo advances religion and violates the effects prong of the Lemon test. Regardless of whether one knows of the religious origin of the City of Zion and can discount the religious effect of the seal accordingly, the seal, emblem, and logo, as we discuss below, are sectarian. We do not impute complete knowledge of history to the average observer of the seal -- whether adherent or nonadherent. We therefore cannot assume that the average member of Zion's political community will have either general or specific knowledge of Zion's "unique" history. In fact, the defendants' own expert on the history of the City of Zion, Professor Philip Cook, stated otherwise: "it is possible that the majority of Zion's 15,000 inhabitants know little of its unique history." Affidavit of Philip L. Cook, at 4. We therefore find that the average observer would consider that Zion makes adherence to religion relevant to a person's standing in the political community.
The defendants are not correct when they assert that the symbols in the seal and logo " merely recognize Zion's early religious history" (emphasis added). Nothing within the four corners of the seal or the logo detracts from their sectarian messages. The symbols in question are abstract and function as strong symbols of a particular sect of Christianity. As Reverend Dowie indicated, each of the three symbols has an independent religious significance. The sum of the individual symbols imparts a decidedly religious, in fact sectarian, message. The seal, containing the emblem, connotes an even stronger message because the symbols appear on a shield below a ribbon that reads "GOD REIGNS." Nothing "neutralizes" the religious message.
The First Amendment declares that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion . . . ." The Supreme Court and the Seventh Circuit precedents teach that a municipality may not display religious symbols in a way that endorses religion. We find that the City of Zion's seal, emblem, and logo have the effect of endorsing a Christian message. Nothing more is required to demonstrate a violation of the Establishment Clause. County of Allegheny, 492 U.S. 573, 109 S. Ct. 3086, 3105, 106 L. Ed. 2d 472. We therefore permanently enjoin the display of the City of Zion's seal, emblem, and logo in their current forms.
We deny the plaintiffs' summary judgment motion in Kuhn v. Rolling Meadows. We grant the plaintiffs' summary judgment motion as to the Zion seal, emblem, and logo and deny the defendants' summary judgment motion in Harris v. City of Zion. We permanently enjoin the City of Zion from the continued use of its seal, emblem, and logo in their present forms.
Date: February 9, 1990