Uh… U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson has essentially ruled that a Cross erected in a Florida park in facts violates the law and must be removed.
“I am aware that there is a lot of support in Pensacola to keep the cross as is, and I understand and I understand and respect that point of view,” U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson wrote in his ruling. “But, the law is the law.”
The lawsuit to have it removed by was filed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation AND The American Humanist Association on behalf of four Pensacola citizens… wow…..
“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,” said Annie Gaylor, the organization’s perpetually offended co-founder.
As written by and for Todd Starnes:
Judge Vinson 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.
“However, after about 75 years, the Bayview Cross can no longer stand as a permanent fixture on city-owned property,” the Reagan-appointed judge ruled.
He directed the city of Pensacola to remove the cross within 30 days. He also ordered the city to pay the aggrieved plaintiffs one dollar in damages. That comes out to a quarter apiece.
The American Humanist Association celebrated the judge’s ruling.
“We are pleased that the Court struck down this cross as violative of the First Amendment,” attorney Monica Miller said in a statement. “The cross was totally unavoidable to park patrons, and to have citizens foot the bill for such a religion symbol is both unfair and unconstitutional.”
Judge Vinson based his ruling on a court case involving a similar cross that suffered the same fate in Rabun County, Georgia.
“If the cross under review in Rabun County violated the First Amendment and had to be removed, the cross here must suffer the same fate,” the judge wrote.