County Votes 5-0 to Keep Courthouse Crosses, Despite Atheist Group’s Demands
A small Texas town is rejecting demands from an atheist organization to remove crosses from the county courthouse, and it’s getting the support of the state attorney general’s office, too.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter in late April to officials in Coldspring, Texas, asserting that four white crosses on the sides of the building violate the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition on government establishment of religion.
But last week the San Jacinto County Commissioners voted unanimously, 5-0, to keep the crosses on the courthouse, KPCR-TV reported. More than 600 residents attended the commissioners’ meeting. The population of Coldspring, Texas, is about 900.
The Texas Attorney General’s office applauded the commissioners’ decision and pledged its legal support if FFRF files suit.
“If that occurs, we look forward to supporting your lawful decision to retain the crosses,” Jeff Mateer, the state’s first assistant attorney general, wrote.
The crosses have lights that are turned on at Christmas. Dwayne Wright, chairman of the San Jacinto County Republican Party, posted a picture on Facebook showing the crosses lit up after the commissioners’ vote.
“THIS is how we roll in San Jacinto County!” Wright wrote.
Residents had said FFRF’s demands might face resistance.
“I don’t think it’s going to go over very well here,” Rhonda Martin told the TV station. “It’s a Christian community.”
An FFRF letter called the crosses “a blatant violation of the Establishment clause.” That clause reads: “Congress
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