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ICC Note: A highly contested cross in a Santa Clara park was recently removed after the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) filed a lawsuit. The issue first arose in 2012 when the FFRF sent a letter of complaint to the then-mayor, arguing that the cross’ presence was unconstitutional. When the mayor did not take as much action as the FFRF hoped, they decided to file a lawsuit over the matter.
By Heather Clark
01/18/2017 United States (Christian News Network) – Officials in Santa Clara, California have removed a 14-foot cross from a public park in response to a lawsuit filed by a prominent professing atheist organization.
The granite cross had been displayed in what is known as Memorial Cross Park for the past 64 years after being donated by the local chapter of the Lions Club.
But in 2012, the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) wrote to then-Mayor Jamie Matthews to assert that the cross violated both the federal and state Constitutions in that it was a government endorsement of religion.
Matthews advised that the city looked forward “to resolving this matter in an expeditious and responsible manner,” but FFRF became dissatisfied when the only change that was made was the removal of a sign announcing the area as Memorial Cross Park.
Therefore, last April, FFRF filed suit. Included in the legal challenge was local resident Andrew DeFaria, who said that he has avoided the park so he does not have to look at the cross.
“As a non-believer in any religion, he finds the cross on public land objectionable. As a consequence, he avoids the public park and even goes so far as to avoid the street on which the park and cross are located in order to avoid the offensive encounter with the City’s endorsement of … religion through this symbolism,” the lawsuit outlined.

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