The Freedom From Religion Foundation has scored a win after the Centerville Police Department agreed to take down an inappropriate and exclusionary “shrouded cross.”
Staff Attorney Christopher Line wrote a letter sent at the end of August, explaining to the police department that a Latin cross is an unambiguous symbol of Christianity, and a shrouded cross even more so as a symbol of Jesus’ resurrection. FFRF asked that the unconstitutional display be taken down.
Line explained to the Centerville Chief of Police Cedric B. Duncan that “the display of this patently religious symbol on public property confers government endorsement of Christianity, a blatant violation of the Establishment Clause.”
After receiving no response, FFRF followed up with the department, and Chief Duncan finally informed FFRF this month that the cross was removed after the police department received the request.
The religious significance of the Latin cross is indisputable, and it should not have been outside a government building like a police station. Not only was the display unconstitutional, but it was also alienating and excluded the 30 percent of Americans who are not Christian and the 24 percent who are not religious, FFRF contended.
"I am pleased that the police department removed this flagrantly unconstitutional religious display," says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. "The display of religious imagery on public property is unconstitutional and disrespectful to nonreligious citizens of Centerville."
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with more than 35,000 members and several chapters across the country, including over 500 members and a local chapter in Georgia. Our purposes are to protect the constitutional principle of separation between state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.