Action Alert

Support removal of cross from Tenn. water tower!

The Freedom From Religion Foundation's 9-month-old request to the town of Whiteville, Tenn. has finally got action. Three FFRF letters to Mayor James Bellar were ignored until a letter on FFRF's behalf to remove the cross atop its water tower.

"If you fail to comply with this demand within thirty days from the date of this letter, the FFRF and its Whiteville member will have little choice but to sue you and the Town in the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee," wrote attorney Alvin Harris, Nashville, in a letter sent last week.

Bellar told WREG News 3 (Memphis, Tenn.) that he would take the cross down because the city does not have the money to fight the group [FFRF] in court.

Since that announcement, Alliance Defense Fund, a notorious Christian-right group has butted in, offering to represent Whiteville in a legal battle. Even if the Alliance Defense Fund agrees to pay Whiteville’s own attorneys’ fees, it would undoubtedly give the Whiteville taxpayers the burden of paying a judgment for the plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees and other litigation expenses.

"FFRF and the local complainant caution the Town of Whiteville about accepting legal representation from interested parties with their own agenda that will put the town at risk of losing substantial sums of money. It was reported that one of these groups, the Alliance Defense Fund, has sought to represent the Town. The best resolution of the dispute over the water tower cross is by removing it without the need for costly and protracted litigation," said FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor in a follow-up letter to the mayor.

Please help educate! Send a short thank you to Mayor Bellar for planning to remove the cross within 60 days. A firm but gracious message, praising his responsible decision may buttress him. 

TALKING POINTS

(Feel free to copy and paste, or better yet use your own words):

• Thank you for upholding the constitutional principle of separation between state and chuch. Litigation like this has proved costly to two counties in Kentucky that were represented by a Christian legal group.

• No court of final resort has ever upheld the government’s permanent display of a Latin cross on public land as constitutional. 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 the City water tower confers government endorsement of Christianity, a blatant violation of the Establishment Clause.

• It is unlawful for the Town of Whiteville to display a patently religious symbol such as a Christian cross on public property. The Whiteville cross, displayed on the Town water tower, unabashedly creates the perception of government endorsement of Christianity. It conveys the message to the twenty-six percent of the U.S. population who are not Christians that they are not “favored members of the political community.” Allegheny v. ACLU of Pittsburgh, 492 U.S. 573, 594.

CONTACT

For maximum effectiveness, write as an individual and not as someone responding to an Action Alert. Please do not forward this Action Alert to the Mayor or Alerpersons. We are pleased to receive "blind" ("BCC") copies of your messages and correspondence by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Mayor- James Bellar
158 East Main Street
Whiteville TN. 38075
731-254-8523
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Please carbon copy ("CC") or send your message to other city officials (see below).

Vice Mayor- Sidney Woods
158 East Main Street
Whiteville TN. 38075
731-254-8523
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Alderman- Jimmie Lee Robertson
158 East Main Street
Whiteville TN. 38075
731-254-8523
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Alderwoman- Emily Rosson
158 East Main Street
Whiteville TN. 38075
731-254-8523

Alderwoman- Emily Rosson
158 East Main Street
Whiteville TN. 38075
731-254-8523
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Alderwoman- Chandra Johnson
158 East Main Street
Whiteville TN. 38075
731-254-8523
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Alderman- Charles Phillips
158 East Main Street
Whiteville TN. 38075
731-254-8523
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Alderman- Tommy Turner
158 East Main Street
Whiteville TN. 38075
731-254-8523
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The Jackson Sun has been following this story for the past week. Their latest editorial supports state/church separation. Please share an encouraging thought in the comment section.  

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