COLDSPRING, Texas — Commissioners in a Texas county have voted unanimously to reject a request from a prominent professing atheist organization to remove four crosses that are displayed on the outside of the San Jacinto County courthouse.
According to reports, the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) had sent a letter last month to county Judge Fritz Faulkner to advise that it had been contacted by a local resident who objected to the crosses displayed on the courthouse in the small town of Coldspring.
It asserted that the crosses are “a blatant violation of the Establishment Clause” of the U.S. Constitution. The clause reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion …”
“These crosses unabashedly create the perception of government endorsement of Christianity,” FFRF’s letter read, according to local television station KPRC. “No secular purpose detracts from the overall message that the Latin cross stands for Christianity and that the display promotes Christianity.”
“These crosses have an exclusionary effect, making non-Christian and non-believing residents of Coldspring political outsiders,” it argued.
The Church-State separation group asked that the crosses be removed.
However, the development rather stirred up local residents to defend the crosses, as they packed the commissioners court meeting on May 8 to voice their support. According to reports, an estimated 600 people attended the public meeting, with 45 signing up to speak. Testimony went on for over three hours, with some residents holding wooden crosses of their own.
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