An Iowa Assistant County Attorney was asked by a the presiding judge to remove an Ash Wednesday marking from his forehead. The attorney had just returned from lunch to continue with a trial. The defense attorney, after noticing the mark, objected to the marking. The defense did not object on grounds of personal religious beliefs, but out of fear the jury could be in some way affected by the mark. The judge then agreed, and asked the prosecutor to remove the mark. The prosecutor proceeded to do so without objection.
While the issue may seem simple, it has touched on a grey area according to the Americans United for Separation of Church and State, "The judge would have the power to ask the prosecutor to remove the ash, but whether the prosecutor would be compelled to do so is another question . . . ."
Ash Wednesday observance subject of objection | Iowa Times-Republican