By PJ Slinger
Not surprisingly, the Pensacola cross decision won by FFRF and AHA sparked an outcry from prominent religious conservatives.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee disparaged the judge's decision to have a 30-foot cross removed from Bayview Park because it violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
"I hope Pensacola will appeal after Bayview Park cross ruled unconstitutional & ordered removed in 30 days," Rubio tweeted.
That wasn't nearly as bad as Huckabee's diatribe on Fox News, though. Huckabee showed clear ignorance of constitutional law and the definition of freedom.
"It's absurd! Four people. Four people in Pensacola said they had a problem with this. Thousands of people have enjoyed the fact that it is there," Huckabee said. "We are a nation that has freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. It's not that they are offended, they just can't stand that some people believe in God."
And, of course, there was Catholic League President Bill Donohoe, who can always be counted on to say something outrageous. He didn't disappoint.
"It is obvious that militant atheists hate the sight of the cross. Nor can it be doubted that some vomit upon seeing it," Donohoe wrote in an op-ed titled, "Atheist Christian haters win in court."
Donohoe ended his tirade by writing that if the Supreme Court doesn't "reconsider its Establishment Clause jurisprudence . . . we will continue to see more phony cases brought by atheist Christian-hating activists feigning 'shock' at seeing crosses in parks."
Todd Starnes, the Fox News pundit who makes no claim to being fair and balanced, called FFRF "notorious" and FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor "perpetually offended."
"People of faith are facing unrelenting attacks from a ruthless bunch of godless atheists — hell-bent on eradicating Christianity from the public," he said on his show. "Should Christian citizens be relegated to some sort of second-class citizenship? Should they be directed to keep their beliefs hidden inside the church house? . . . Just how far do the atheists intend to go in this cultural jihad on our Judeo-Christian values?"
At the state level, the Pensacola News Journal reported that Florida state Rep. Matt Gaetz issued a statement saying he was frustrated to hear the cross was ruled unconstitutional.
"I am deeply saddened by this decision and will always stand in support of the Bayview Cross," Gaetz said. "The Bayview Cross, although a symbol of Christianity, has grown beyond that as a monument of our community's history."
During the 2016 election, Gaetz challenged his Democratic opponent Amanda Kondrat'yev to a debate over the cross. Kondrat'yev was one of the four plaintiffs who filed the lawsuit to remove the cross.
And then there was Christian evangelist Franklin Graham spouting off on the subject. He went on Facebook to denounce the judge's decision.
"We have organizations like the American Humanist Association and the Freedom From Religion Foundation to thank for ridiculous changes like this," he wrote.
Yes you do. And you're welcome.