A ‘Worship’ Cross on Public Land is About to Become a Problem for Middleboro, Massachusetts

If you were to drive through Middleboro, Massachusetts, you would see this unusual structure on a median on Route 28:

A cross in Middleboro (Emily J. Reynolds – The Enterprise)

The 12-foot by 7-foot Christian cross has been there for more than 50 years, and sits on public property, half of which is owned by the city, half of which is owned by the state, and all of which is illegal.

The proposed solution to this problem was that the state would sell its half of the property to Middleboro, and Middleboro would then sell all of the property to the local (private) Kiwanas Club. Which is a very roundabout way to keep promoting Christianity through the government.

Jeff Stevens had the good sense to speak out against that plan at a town meeting earlier this week:

Jeff Stevens lobbied town meeting to stay out of the fray, fearing the town will become embroiled in a lawsuit threatened by the American Civil Liberties Union.

“This is not a Middleboro problem,” Stevens said. “It will open up our town to legal challenges.”

Stevens said the issue is being closely watched at the national level and said, “Government should not be involved in this.”

You have to ask whether the town would be willing to sell property to a Muslim group wanting to put up a large crescent or an atheist group wanting to put up a banner reading “In Reason We Trust.” If the answer is no — and it sure as hell would be — then there’s no reason a Christian group should be getting special treatment.

Despite the smart advice from Stevens, the town decided to continue with its original plan on a 228-10 vote.

Sure, that makes sense… ignore the guy trying to help you and put yourself in a position to get sued. That’s how you run a city. Given the Republican leanings of the town, I guess I’m not surprised.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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