City Removes Franciscan University Chapel From Logo

The effort to erase any public sign of Christianity in American took yet another step forward recently with the announcement that the city of Steubenville, Ohio is removing the image of the Franciscan University of Steubenville’s chapel from the official city logo.

Here’s a pic of the offending city logo which was unveiled just last year:

The city of Steubenville, faced with the threat of an expensive lawsuit from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc., a Madison, Wisconsin-based atheist group, decided to drop the image of the chapel and the cross. They will be asking an artist to create a new logo in the near future.

Law Director S. Gary Repella told The Herald Star, “We were contacted in May by the Freedom from Religion Foundation Inc. in Madison, Wis., who said one of our citizens had complained about the city logo. During the past several months the foundation sent me their research and past case law regarding religious symbols. I researched current case law and found a lot of case laws that do not allow religious symbols in government symbols.”

Franciscan University reacted to the announcement with the following statement from Michael Hernon, vice president of Advancement:

“For more than 65 years, Franciscan University of Steubenville has proudly served as an integral part of this community and we were honored to have our chapel included in the new city of Steubenville logo. The city initially included our chapel because it represents Franciscan University, a world-renowned center of higher learning and one of the largest employers in the region. We find it particularly troubling that an out of town and out of touch group targeted the University for removal from the logo solely because of our religious identity.

“Now that the city has decided not to keep the chapel in its logo, the University has declined the city’s offer to be represented by another campus building. The Christ the King Chapel and its cross, which are the centerpiece of the University logo, are internationally recognized symbols of the campus here in Steubenville and are at the heart of our Catholic educational mission. No other campus symbol or architectural feature so immediately identifies the University.

“As used in the city logo, the chapel image is not an endorsement of any one religion, or religion at all. It merely signifies one of the many treasures of Steubenville—along with Historic Fort Steuben, the Veterans Memorial Bridge, and the downtown cityscape—that are well-known community landmarks.

“For these reasons, Franciscan University has decided not to be included at all in the revised logo rather than to be represented in a way that does not honor our mission as a faith-based institution.”

Matthew Archbold


Matthew Archbold is a contributing writer to Campus Notes and to National Catholic Register, as well as the co-founder of the popular website, Creative Minority Report.

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  • Temijin27

    I think that you have jumped the gun on this. It just came up again at the ciy council meeting this week, and there ws a lot of protests including petitions brought before the council basically saying who are they to tell us that we have to change the city’s logo because one person has complained to a group in Wisconsin.

  • Terry

    So sad. Why are we Catholics letting this happen? There will be a price to pay for a Godless society. Just look at what is happenning in our world.

  • cb

    Why do you bend to these kooks

  • Dartho

    This is horrible. What if someone is offended by the portrayal of a weapon in the logo because it promotes violence? Where does it end? As stated it’s not an endorsement of a religion just recognizing something that makes the city what it is.

  • Temijin27

    The headline in Thursday edition of the Steubenville Herald-Star, ‘Attorney offers free defense.”  Sub headline reads, “James Bordas would defend city in logo fight.”  Bordas is a Catholic attorney out of Wheeling, W.Va.  He said in part, “We thought the city was being bullied because of lack of funds, into caving to the unlawful demands of an extremist group.”  A better Catholic response than the University saying in effect that if you don’t use our chapel you can’t use any of our buildings. 

  • We appreciate your supportive comments.  The FFRF group has over-reached here since the cross is part of the architecture of the city and does not establish a religion.

  • Pete

    The chapel and cross still have not been removed from the city logo despite your insistence that they have.