A customer service desk in the Austin Municipal Court north substation will no longer display a cross. FFRF Senior Staff Attorney Rebecca Markert sent a letter March 6 to the presiding judge, explaining that the Latin cross is indisputably a religious symbol and therefore its unconstitutional for a city government to display it.
“The inherent religious significance of the Latin cross is undeniable and is not disguisable. No secular purpose, no matter how sincere, will detract from the overall message that the Latin cross stands for Christianity and the overall display promotes Christianity. The display of this patently religious symbol on government property confers government endorsement of Christianity, a blatant violation of the Establishment Clause.”
On May 16, FFRF received a letter reporting that the cross is no longer on display:
“Immediately upon receipt for your original letter, the manager and a supervisor of the employees in that substation went to investigate. . . [T]here had been a cross given as a gift from one employee to another and it was placed in an inappropriate place. The situation was strongly addressed with the employees. I do not think it was an intentional display but a careless placing of a gift. Regardless, it was completely inappropriate.”