Earlier this week a federal judge declared that a cross erected in a Florida park violated the law and must come down. Atheists are cheering.
District Judge Roger Vinson wrote in his ruling, “I am aware that there is a lot of support in Pensacola to keep the cross as is, and I understand and respect that point of view…. “But, the law is the law.”
The lawsuit was filed in 2016 by the Freedom From Religion Foundation and the American Humanist Association on behalf of four Pensacola citizens.
The judge pointed out that park has hosted tens of thousands of people for roughly 75 years without causing anyone offense – until now.
Annie Gaylor, the FFRF’s co-founder, who Todd Starnes of Fox News described as “perpetually offended” said, “When a city park serving all citizens – nonreligious, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim and Christian – contains a towering Latin cross, this sends a message of exclusion to non-Christians, and a corresponding message to Christians that they are favored citizens,”
The cross was first erected in 1941.
Judge Vinson, who was appointed by Ronald Reagan, noted in his ruling the “Bayview Cross” is “part of the rich history of Pensacola and Bayview Park in particular.”
He said the cross had been the focal point for Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day services – not to mention Easter Sunrise services.
Regardless, he said the cross must be removed in 30 days.