SIMI VALLEY, Calif. -- Simi Valley atheist Stuart Bechman is the area's very own church/state separation watchdog.
Bechman, 51, was instrumental in drawing attention several years ago to a large cross on Mt. McCoy on land that had been donated to the Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District. To his satisfaction, the cross and 0.61 acres of surrounding land were eventually sold to the private nonprofit Simi Valley Historical Society.
These days, Bechman has set his secular sights on what he considers another separation issue -- a framed poster in the Simi Valley City Council's foyer in City Hall saluting U.S. military personnel. The problem, in Bechman's view, is that the poster also states "God Bless America" and "God Bless You."