The United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida ruled against displaying a Christian cross on public property in Pensacola, Florida. The case concerns a 34-foot concrete cross in Pensacola’s Bayview Park. The cross being displayed was obviously promoting Christianity over other religions, and it should not be in a public park, unless icons from other religions were also displayed.
The American Humanist Association is celebrating this win. The city was given 30 days to remove the cross, which has stood in the park for over 75 years.
Judge Roger Vinson decided:
“The Bayview Cross violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, as interpreted by the Supreme Court and circuit precedent, and it must be removed within 30 days.”
Monica Miller, Senior Counsel at the Appignani Humanist Legal Center, said:
“We are pleased that the Court struck down this Cross as violative of the First Amendment. The cross was totally unavoidable to park patrons, and to have citizens foot the bill for such a religious symbol is both unfair and unconstitutional.”
The judge himself, a Reagan appointee, was not happy with having to take it down. But, at least he was able to get past that and do his job. Judge Vinson said:
“Count me among those who hope the Supreme Court will one day revisit and reconsider its Establishment Clause jurisprudence, but my duty is to enforce the law as it now stands.”
Unfortunately, many Christians are harassing the American Humanist Association’s lawyer Monica Miller. People have called her all kinds of nasty names on Facebook and Instagram in various posts. She responded with:
“Although I’ve been the latest target of angry Christians who are upset with the law, which forbids a city from promoting their religious symbol, I have also received an outpouring of support from Christians and Atheists alike who understand the importance of separation of church and state.”
“My job is to enforce compliance with the First Amendment and that’s what I did. Even Reagan-appointed Judge Vinson understood that this cross is a plain violation of the First Amendment.”
I love the dignity and class she shows.
Here is some footage of the cross and the park (after the jump):
Featured image via YouTube screenshot.