Legal Battle Over Giant Cross in Florida

DIANNE BRENNAN is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Town Fights Judge Ruling Cross Unconstituional

Despite a judge of the US District Court giving the ruling that the prominent Christian cross located in Bayview Park, Pensacola, Florida, was unconstitutional, the city of Pensacola is gearing up to fight this judgment. The June ruling said that the giant structure must come down within a period of 30 days. To do this, the taxpayers of this city will cough up about $130,000. This money will be spent as city officials have decided to appeal this decision.

Pensacola officials will get legal advice from 14 attorney generals scattered all over the United States. All attorney generals, curiously enough, had said that this large Christian cross must be regarded as a completely secular monument. This amicus brief was signed by the attorney generals hailing from Utah, Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Carolina. To any truly secular person, what they say can only be described as nonsensical.

They gave the argument that the huge Christian cross should not be automatically regarded as a kind of religious symbol. No religious coercion is involved in the matter. The attorney generals also said that the comments made by the mayor must not be interpreted that the huge Christian cross can be a religious symbol. The Pensacola Mayor has gone on record saying that religion will always have prominence in public squares. As per the announcement made by the attorney generals, the court must make clear that any Latin cross fixed on public property could be engaged in a secular purpose over time. They also said no direct or indirect coercion is being applied as per Establishment Clause.

The problem is that there is no way one can justify a Christian cross to be a secular symbol. What the cross proponents are saying is that the symbol is utilized to create crude memorials and honor heroes after people die. As per their statements, these actions do not promote Christianity. Another argument is that since the cross has been around for 75 years, it has already assumed ‘cultural heritage’ status and not a religious one.

According to secular logic, this is exactly the reason why atheists should speak up when they observe a religious symbol on public property. If this is not done, then the religious would use them as a kind of justification to further promote faith.

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