September 2012 Church & State | People & Events

Americans United attorneys have urged government officials in Indiana and Michigan to remove crosses displayed on public land.

In Dugger, Ind., AU told town officials that their display of a 26-foot-tall white cross bearing the words “Jesus Saves” is unconstitutional. The Christian symbol was placed on public property about two years ago with the approval of the town council.

In June, AU attorneys advised the town council that the cross should be relocated to private property. The letter cited several court decisions that have struck down government display of sectarian symbols.

“[B]y displaying a cross on public land, the Town unlawfully endorses and promotes Christianity,” observed AU’s letter.

The structure, built by a welder named Louie Bonham, is made of iron and steel and weighs more than a ton.

Americans United waded into the matter after receiving a complaint from a town resident.

Shawn Farris, a local minister, told Fox News that he bears no ill will toward the person who called AU.

“We have no animosity, we have no hatred toward the person who called this group,” Farris said. “It’s an attack on Christianity from the enemy of Christianity – and that’s Satan himself.”

Town officials have said they have little interest in litigating the matter. One solution under consideration is to sell the land to a coalition of Dugger churches.

The following month, AU contacted officials in Frankenmuth, Mich., and urged them to stop displaying a 55-foot-tall cross in a park there.

Frankenmuth officials declined to comment about the matter to the media.