Psalm 23 image on Cedar Rapids fire truck sparks controversy - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Psalm 23 image on Cedar Rapids fire truck sparks controversy

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - After 16 years an image plastered on a Cedar Rapids fire truck is now causing some controversy.

A complaint was filed with the Cedar Rapids Civil Rights Commission last week over an image of a shepherd on the side of a bucket on a ladder truck housed in the Cedar Rapids Central Fire Department.

Below the image, the caption says "The Lord is my shepherd."

It's that Psalm 23 scripture and image plastered on the 100-foot ladder fire truck that has some saying: 'they shall not want.'

"I think that it should be removed," says Tom Capo, pastor at Peoples Church Unitarian Universalist. "It's not representing the fire department, it's not representing the city, it's representing a one-person's or few people's religious background."

Reverend Capo's congregation consists of agnostics, Buddhist, Christians, and all other beliefs. He says there is nothing inherently wrong with the image or passage, but it's definitely not inclusive.

"I think it gives people comfort and helps them feel secure, but it might not be a bad idea to put up various religious symbols that represent many of the faith communities in Cedar Rapids."

The Cedar Rapids Civil Rights Commission director John-Paul Chaisson-Cardenas says he gives thanks to brave men and women who protect and serve the community.

He wants to make sure without discounting their beliefs, that adding the beliefs of the rest of the community is more inclusive.

"The people who brought forth the issue actually at this point are no longer complaining," said Chaisson-Cardenas. "They are actually very happy with the process that we've taken to look at it."

Fire Chief Mark English says the shepherd image has been on the Central Fire Department's truck since it was purchased December 1997, and the image was on truck was on there when the department got possession of it

"It is a concern that we are more than willing to address," said English. "We can go down one of two paths, exclusionary and remove it or inclusionary and include other religions and have them help us pick out some symbols to put on the vehicle to show that we are inclusionary."

English says he simply wants to add the beliefs of everyone in the community.
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