Battle over crosses ensues in Badger State

Friday, June 16, 2017
 | 
Charlie Butts (OneNewsNow.com)

no crossA religious freedom group is encouraging a Wisconsin community not to cave to complaints about signs on public property that have a cross.

The atheist Freedom From Religion Foundation has sent a letter to Oconomowoc, Wisconsin – located about 30 miles west of Milwaukee – complaining it is violating the Constitution with the two signs that display the message: "The Churches of Oconomowoc Welcome You."

The signs – stone structures with crosses on top – were erected over 60 years ago by civic organizations who footed the bill. There had been no complaints about the signs or crosses until FFRF noticed them.

Rick Esenberg is president and general counsel of the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty.

Esenberg

"My organization sent a letter to the city saying Look, we don't think that you have to take these signs down – because in our view the United States Supreme Court has never said that the Establishment Clause mandates freedom from religion [or] that it mandates the removal of any reference to religion from the public square," he states.

Esenberg says if one believes the government should not favor a religion over another, or favor religion over irreligion, then:

"What message would be sent by requiring Oconomowoc to take down a very innocuous sign, which is not expressly associated with the city, to which no one has taken offense for 64 years? What message would that send?" he wonders.

Such a response to the complaint, says the attorney, could be interpreted as forcing the city to express hostility to religion – which government isn't supposed to do.

FFRF has responded to the letter, arguing that the crosses on the signs send a distinctly "Christian message" and that such displays on government property are "divisive, unnecessary and constitutionally problematic."

Like Esenberg's group, FFRF is also based in Wisconsin.

We moderate all reader comments, usually within 24 hours of posting (longer on weekends). Please limit your comment to 300 words or less and ensure it addresses the article - NOT another reader's comments. Comments that contain a link (URL), an inordinate number of words in ALL CAPS, rude remarks directed at other readers, or profanity/vulgarity will not be approved. More details

SIGN UP FOR OUR DAILY NEWSBRIEF

SUBSCRIBE

VOTE IN OUR POLL

What is your worst suspicion of the U.S. Senate's health care bill? (Choose all that apply)

CAST YOUR VOTE

GET PUSH NOTIFICATIONS

SUBSCRIBE

LATEST AP HEADLINES

Appeals court upholds MS religious freedom law
Senate GOP releases its version of an Obamacare replacement
FBI: No 'wider plot' suspected in Michigan airport stabbing
Census: US growing older and more racially diverse
Angry Dems turn against leaders after House election losses
Student detained in N Korea is mourned at hometown funeral

LATEST FROM THE WEB

Why no one shouts 'Jesus is great' when they kill
Brown University teaching high school kids to be 'social justice warriors'
The unwritten law that helps bad cops go free
Citing no evidence, student editor claims: ‘If you’re white, you’re probably racist’
Professor calls white people "inhuman"

CARTOON OF THE DAY

Cartoon of the Day

REASON & COMPANY

NEXT STORY
No room in Sweden for a pro-life midwife

baby feetA Swedish midwife vows to continue her battle for the right to refuse to participate in abortion.