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Pensacola’s historic cross will remain standing and atheists aren’t happy about it.
Atheists recently lost a decision in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals to have a historic World War II-era cross removed from public property in Pensacola, Florida.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation, whose mission is to remove any religious aspect of our culture, sued back in 2016 saying it violated the constitution even though there has been overwhelming support to keep the cross standing.
Back in 2017, FFRF celebrated their favorable court decision with a tweet.
Our victory in Pensacola ruffled some feathers over at Fox. https://t.co/AK412Efx9R
— FFRF (@FFRF) June 19, 2017
Yet, in a multi-year long court battle, the decision was made to keep the cross standing.
One of the biggest contributing factors to the ruling had to do with the cross’s influence in the community, according to Beck Law, a firm that focuses on religious liberty issues.
“Following the Supreme Court’s decision in American Legion v. American Humanist Association, protecting a World War I memorial cross in Bladensburg, Maryland, the Eleventh Circuit ruled that the cross is constitutional, acknowledging that it has become “embedded in the fabric of the Pensacola community” and that removing it could “strike many as aggressively hostile to religion.” The Bayview Cross is one of over 170 displays in Pensacola parks memorializing the City’s diverse history and culture.”
Only one of the four people who brought the original lawsuit against the city was from the area. The FFRF later partnered with the American Humanist Association to bring a lawsuit once they weren’t getting support from the city.
The cross was built 76 years ago in Bayview Park as a symbol of hope as the country got ready to go to war. Today, the location continues to be used for different observations, including Veteran’s Day and Easter.
The American Humanist Association calls the decision a “devastating blow” to the establishment cause. These atheist groups believe it is a direct attack to the principle of church-state separation.
“It is troubling to see the court attack the principle of church-state separation that was held dear by our Founders,” Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association, said. “Today’s decision is part of the religious right’s ongoing crusade to privilege Christianity at the expense of true religious freedom for all.”