There’s good news out of Michigan: The Michigan Supreme Court has refused to hear a case concerning the display of a cross in the town of Grand Haven. The state high court’s decision to take a pass on the matter effectively ends the controversy in a manner favorable to separation of church and state.
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.
Americans United recently filed two legal briefs in cases challenging the display of religious symbols on government property:
In a Dec. 17 brief, Americans United told the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that a Pennsylvania woman and her minor child should be permitted to sue the New Kensington-Arnold School District over a Ten Commandments display at a local high school.
For the second time in three months, a state court has tossed a case challenging the removal of a large cross from government-owned land in Michigan.
Thanks to intervention from Americans United, officials in Grand Haven, which overlooks Lake Michigan, decided to cease displaying a 48-foot tall, 24-foot wide cross on Dewey Hill. The city, which has a population of about 11,000, had displayed the cross in conjunction with summer religious festivals, Easter and Christmas. In December, the hill also played host to a large nativity scene.
A Michigan city that decided to stop displaying a large cross on a publicly owned hill in response to a complaint by Americans United is now facing a lawsuit from some residents who want to put the cross back up.
Americans United has been working in the city of Grand Haven, Mich., to persuade municipal officials to stop displaying a large cross on a prominent hillside.
The cross, which is attached to a hydraulic lift, isn’t displayed year round, but it is put up on special occasions. This is done at the local government’s discretion, and it’s paid for with taxpayer funds.
A Michigan city will stop displaying a large cross on a publicly owned hill in response to a complaint lodged by Americans United.
The decision was made during a Jan. 5 meeting of the Grand Haven City Council. The news website MLive.com reported that the council voted 3-2 to end its policy of sporadically displaying the cross, which was often attached to a hydraulic lift.
Americans United recently sent a letter to officials in Grand Haven, Mich., to protest a large cross displayed on publicly owned land that figures prominently in a worship series held every summer.
The cross, which is 48 feet tall and 24 feet wide, sits on Dewey Hill. It overlooks Lake Michigan just west of Grand Rapids, and it’s a bit different from most large, public crosses because it is attached to a hydraulic lift. As a result, it isn’t displayed around the clock but appears on special occasions.
When it comes to religion and government, the constitutional choice is all or nothing: either every viewpoint is welcome or none at all. Of course, including every perspective can get a little unwieldy – as officials in Grand Haven, Mich., may soon discover.