The American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center sent a letter on behalf of concerned citizens to city officials in Pensacola, Florida, demanding the removal of a Latin Cross in Bayview Park.
According to the letter, the city’s cross is unconstitutional because it endorses Christianity and does not have a secular purpose. The cross is a towering, stand-alone structure that is unavoidable to visitors of the park. It is also the site of the annual Easter Sunrise Christian worship services, most recently hosted by McIlwain Presbyterian Church. The cross is displayed adjacent to a plaque referencing Easter, which further associates it with Jesus Christ. The letter cites numerous individuals who perceive the cross as a religious symbol on government property.
“By prominently displaying a Christian cross at Bayview, a public park, the city is promoting Christianity over all other religions and religion over non-religion,” said Monica Miller, an attorney with the Appignani Humanist Legal Center. “The courts have been virtually unanimous in determining that crosses on public land violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.”
“This cross stigmatizes non-Christian members of the community and denies them their rights as citizens to live free from religious intrusion by the government,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association.
A copy of the letter can be viewed here.