In March 2005, Lakewood, CO City Manager Mike Rock ordered the removal of an art exhibit from the city’s Cultural Center after three City Council members called it "anti-American and anti-military." The ceramic installation "Hope Stones" by artist and Air Force veteran Gayla Lemke included quotes from several notable historic and public figures. Council members Tom Booher, Jackie Herbst and Ray Elliott found the piece offensive because of a Bill Maher quote stating "A real coward is someone who drops a bomb from a protected space several thousand feet up." The quote singled out by the council members was just one of many within the larger context of the work. Other quotes included "There was never a good war or a bad peace," "Love is a verb, not a noun," "War would end if the dead could return." Eventually public officials were content to remove only the "offending" part of the work.

After protests from the National Coalition Against Censorship and the ACLU, both quoting the First Amendment, the City agreed to restore the piece to the exhibition and issue a letter of apology to the artist.