FFRF wants big cross removed from Texas public park

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is asking a Texas town to remove a huge cross from a public park.

A large Latin cross is displayed at the entrance to Swenson Park in Spur, Texas. It overlooks the town and can be seen by passersby.

“The religious significance of the Latin cross is unambiguous and indisputable,” FFRF Senior Staff Attorney Rebecca Markert writes to Spur Mayor Steven Bland. “A majority of federal courts have held displays of Latin crosses on public property to be an unconstitutional endorsement of religion. Many of these cases involve the display of Latin crosses in public parks.” 

The government’s permanent display of a cross on public land is unconstitutional, FFRF informs the mayor. It unabashedly creates the perception of government endorsement of Christianity and conveys the message to non-Christians, including the 23 percent of Americans who are not religious, that “they are not favored members of the political community,” to quote the U.S. Supreme Court. The cross has an exclusionary effect, making non-Christian and nonbelieving residents of Spur political outsiders.

“Spur reportedly prides itself to be a welcoming place,” says Annie Laurie Gaylor. “But having such a blatantly Christian symbol prominently on display on public land makes a large segment of the American population feel unwelcome there.”

FFRF is requesting the city of Spur to immediately take steps for the removal of the cross or its relocation to a private site.

This year itself, FFRF has twice gone to court in similar situations. In April, it sued the city of Santa Clara in California to remove a gigantic cross from a public park. And in May, it filed a suit against Pensacola, Fla., to challenge a 25-foot-tall cross in a public park.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is dedicated to the separation of state and church, with 24,000 nonreligious members nationwide, including more than 1,000 in Texas.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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