Christian crosses remain up, despite warnings of unconstitutionality

A city in Kentucky and a county in Illinois both defied the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s warnings that Christian crosses on public property should be removed.

On Sept. 29, 2015, FFRF, a national state/church watchdog, asked the city of Wilmore, Ky., to remove a large, lighted Latin cross atop the city’s water tower. After FFRF sent a follow-up letter in December, the city responded on Dec. 23. It stated that Asbury University, a Christian college on whose campus the city water tower stands, entered into a contract with Wilmore in 1976, and that the college owns the cross.

On Wednesday, FFRF Legal Fellow Ryan Jayne responded to the city, telling it that it is still unconstitutional for the cross to be displayed on city property, no matter who owns the cross.

In another case, Ogle County (Ill.) unveiled on Veterans Day (Nov. 11, 2015) a bronze memorial statue of a soldier kneeling in front of a Latin cross. Nine months before that, FFRF sent out a letter of complaint informing the county that the planned cross would be unconstitutional.

On Nov. 23, FFRF’s Jayne contacted the county again and asked that the cross “be immediately removed or replaced with a symbol that does not show favoritism for religion in general, or Christianity in particular.” The county responded on Jan. 8, briefly stating that the cross would remain.

FFRF is seeking local residents in Ogle County and the city of Wilmore to act as plaintiffs in possible legal challenges. Contact FFRF at 608-256-8900.

FFRF has more than 23,000 nonreligious members, including more than 150 in Kentucky and 750 in Illinois.


Freedom From Religion Foundation

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