Americans United for Separation of Church and State, joined by 13 religious and civil-rights organizations, today urged a federal appeals court to support religious freedom by affirming that a towering cross erected in the City of Pensacola’s Bayview Park is unconstitutional because it is a clear example of government endorsing religion.
A Michigan appeals court has affirmed the city of Grand Haven’s right to remove a giant cross that once was displayed on city property.
Grand Haven Council in 2015 ended its policy of displaying the 48-foot-tall cross after Americans United filed a complaint objecting to displays of the cross for religious services and other occasions, as well as a display of a nativity scene in December.
A few miles outside Albia, Iowa, three large stone pyramids sit abandoned in a grass field. The pyramids were built in 1939 by Axel Peterson, a local aficionado of Egyptian history; he had intended to be buried in one of them. Peterson’s final wishes were never fulfilled, but his pyramids endure, a moderately famous bit of local weirdness.
Until this year, they were arguably the most famous monuments in or around the town of Albia, population 3,795. Now they’ve been eclipsed by a new – and controversial – addition.
Some members of an Iowa town are angry over an Americans United complaint regarding a Christian-themed veterans’ memorial on public property.
In August, AU asked officials in the town of Knoxville, a small city of about 7,000 south of Des Moines, to remove a display of a silhouetted soldier kneeling before a cross because it does not honor all veterans. The plywood cutout was made by a resident and placed in a public park without city leaders’ permission, but the town has chosen to leave the homemade display in place.
For years, we’ve heard the Religious Right and its allies assert that the cross is a secular symbol, not a religious one, in order to get around the Constitution and keep Christian displays on public land.
We’ve always thought that argument was pretty ridiculous, but Religious Right activists keep trying. Here’s their latest proposal: a cross is not a religious symbol, it’s a tourist attraction.