ICC Note: Earlier in May, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) issued a letter to the mayor of a city in Missouri regarding a cross on public park grounds. The group argued that the cross excludes non-Christians and is unconstitutional because it serves as a government endorsement of Christianity, thereby violating the Establishment Clause. However, in agreement the majority of locals, the city council voted unanimously to keep the cross where it is.
By Heather Clark
05/28/2017 United States (Christian News Network) – Officials at a city in Missouri have decided to refuse a prominent professing atheist organization’s request to remove a cross display from a public park.
The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter earlier this month to the mayor of the city of Neosho, stating that it had been informed by a complainant that a cross figure lies on the side of a hill in Big Spring Park. It asserted that the figure violates the U.S. Constitution because its public location sends the message that the government endorses Christianity.
“The government’s permanent display of a Latin cross on public land is unconstitutional,” the correspondence asserted. “The display of this patently religious symbol on public property confers government endorsement of Christianity, a blatant violation of the Establishment Clause.”
The organization also opined that the cross snubs those who are not Christian.
“The cross has an exclusionary effect, making non-Christian and non-believing residents of Neosho political outsiders,” the letter said.
It asked that the cross be removed from the park or moved to private property.
However, once residents of Neosho heard about FFRF’s effort, many urged officials not to cave to the Church-State separation group. The cross has been in place since 1930 without complaint.