Nothing is more synonymous with Christianity than the cross. But in the city of Pensacola, city officials are appealing a decision made back in June by a U.S. District Court judge saying that a giant Christian cross in the city’s Bayview Park was unconstitutional, claiming that the cross isn’t of a “religious” nature and should be allowed to remain in the park.
City officials were making the claim that crosses are used to honor heroes or used for memorials when people die, therefore it’s not always about promoting Christianity, but “cultural heritage”. One can only imagine the push back if the symbol was a giant star of David, highlighting a giant double standard, and proving the point of a publically funded cross being unconstitutional and coercive to the public in favor of one state-sanctioned religion, (Christianity)- over others.
While the judgment was for the cross to come down within 30 days back in June, it remains in the park even to this day.
As reported by Patheos:
Despite the city of Pensacola — i.e. the taxpayers — already ponying up more than $130,000 to fight this battle, city officials decided to appeal the decision.
They’re now getting help from 14 attorneys general from across the country, all of whom say a Giant Christian Cross should be considered a totally secular monument.
The amicus brief is signed by the attorneys general from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Utah. And what they say will leave you scratching your head.
Specifically, they argue that the Giant Christian Cross shouldn’t automatically be considered a religious symbol, that there’s no religious coercion involved, and that the Mayor’s comments (that there will “always [be] a place for religion in the public square”) shouldn’t be interpreted as evidence that the GIANT CHRISTIAN CROSS is religious.
… the Court should make clear that a Latin cross on public property may serve a secular purpose, especially over time, and that the absence of any direct or indirect coercion is always a key consideration under the Establishment Clause.
How on earth could they justify that? In essence, they say we use the cross to honor heroes and create makeshift memorials when people die, therefore it’s not always about promoting Christianity. Furthermore, when the Giant Christian Cross has been up for 75 years without a challenge, we should be able to assume it reflects “cultural heritage” rather than religion.
Other cities are banking on Pensacola’s win in order to keep their own Christian monuments. Because if Pensacola’s giant Cross is removed, “the district court’s reasoning would threaten countless monuments across the Circuit.”
The article continues:
As detailed in the City’s appendix, state and local parks, squares, and government buildings boast veterans’ memorials that contain religious imagery, including crosses, citations to scripture, and the like.
If you let the decision stand, they say, then all the Christian monuments across the country will be in jeopardy. Damn right they will be! They never should have gone up at all, and it’s about time these cities stop promoting Christianity when they ought to be promoting inclusivity.
What are your thoughts on a publicly funded giant cross in your city? Do you buy the explanation that the cross is not a religious symbol, but simply a “piece of cultural heritage”? Let us know what you think, and leave a comment below.
(Article by Tasha Sharifa)