For as long as anyone can remember, the city of Grand Haven has put up a giant cross on Dewey Hill (public property) near Lake Michigan at certain times of the year, but the city council has now decided to remove it permanently after some people I know threatened a lawsuit to force its removal. It will now be turned into an anchor, which seems appropriate to me.
The Grand Haven City Council has voted to turn the large cross on Dewey Hill into an anchor after disputes about having the religious symbol on city property.
For decades, the cross has stood on Dewey Hill overlooking the Grand River for about 15 days out of each year: 10 Sundays every summer and three to five days over the Easter weekend.
It has been at the center of several debates over the past few months because the property is city-owned, and cross is maintained by the city. Monday, the city council voted 3-2 to turn the 48-foot-tall cross into an anchor and limit access to the property.
Opponents were prepared to sue the city over the cross. Brian Plescher said he and other people who wanted the cross to come down planned to file the preliminary paperwork to sue within the month. He said he had talked to attorneys Tuesday, and as long as the city follows through with its decision, there won’t be any need to file the suit.
“We’ll remain vigilant and continue to monitor the situation and go that route again if we need to,” Plescher said.
The council had little choice. Because the property is government-owned and so is the cross, this was undoubtedly government speech and therefore a violation of the Establishment Clause. Their only alternative was to try to turn it into a limited public forum and allow others to put up their own symbols, but they were already concerned about erosion on what is essentially a sand dune overlooking the lake. They decided to eliminate the cross and all displays on the hill instead.
The comments on the article are pretty much exactly what you’d expect, full of ignorance and assertions of Christian privilege.
Scott Maka – Correct me if I am wrong, but is not the Cross an almost Universal Symbol of All Religion? Maybe we can look forward to the “G” word going the same route as the “N” word. Then we can finally, ” All just get along”.
Okay, Scott, I’ll correct you. You’re wrong. The cross isn’t a symbol even of other Abrahamic religions, much less “all religion.”
1gunner – The cross actually symbolizes our country’s heritage – history and our founding documents and even traditions dictate that – the whole ‘separation of church and state’ isn’t even in the Constitution – it’s simply the words of Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists saying that one denomination should not have precedence over another denomination in regards in regards to government affairs. Pretty sorry day that many do not know history or this country’s heritage…Sad to see it’s removal.
*yawn* Same stupid rhetoric you hear all the time. The same guy, when challenged to show which “public documents” (his claim) supported his position, said:
No it’s not – and the Declaration of Independence is just one. Look at our Founding Fathers, Federalist Papers, our first Chief Justice, court cases in those years, and the list goes on and on. What, you think that Christian Churches and the crosses in Arlington National Cemetery just blossomed out of thin air around the country by chance – LOL!!!..pretty amused and saddened at the lack of this nation’s history and heritage. Pretty shameful indeed. This nation was never intended to be ‘secular’ or ‘Godless’ – my how ignorant you are. Go ahead an creep back into your bubble of fantasy LOL!