A large white cross will remain in a US city’s park after councillors rejected claims from secularists that it is illegal.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) claimed the cross – which has been in place since 1930 – excludes non-Christians.
But the Neosho City Council, in Missouri, voted unanimously to keep the cross at the Big Spring Park and said the law actually supports its position.
The decision was applauded on social media, with over 2,000 likes on Facebook for the Council’s press release and users praising the decision.
FFRF had written to the Mayor of Neosho claiming the cross “has an exclusionary effect, making non-Christian and non-believing residents of Neosho political outsiders”.
It also stated that its presence violated the US constitution and fell foul of various court decisions.
“We ask you to remove the cross from Big Spring Park immediately or direct the display be moved to a more appropriate private location”, it added.
The Neosho City Council considered the letter, but decided that the FFRF’s legal reasoning was flawed.
“It is the position of the City Council”, it said, that “controlling case law would support the continued presence of the cross within the park”.
Noting that the cross had been located in the Big Spring Park for decades, it said it was the “the unanimous opinion of the City Council” to, “not remove the cross or take any other actions which in any way compromises the long standing history of our City”.
‘In God we trust’
In December last year, a US school district banned all public prayers during official school events, following a complaint from the FFRF.
The group claimed it was “unconstitutional” for schools in Jennings County, Indiana, to “schedule, approve or otherwise endorse prayers or other religious messages”.
However, in 2013, the FFRF was defeated in its case to remove the phrase “In God We Trust” from US currency.
New York District Court Judge Harold Baer dismissed the case, which saw FFRF co-president Dan Barker claim the motto had no place in government.