First Liberty Briefing: How A Postal Worker, Pigs, the Radio, and a Cross Ended Up In Court Together

First Liberty Briefing: How A Postal Worker, Pigs, the Radio, and a Cross Ended Up In Court Together September 12, 2017

In 1937, Wayman Presley raised money to erect a cross on Bald Knob. However, in 2012, Robert Sherman sued the state of Illinois for granting money to restore the cross because he found it offensive and did not want his taxpayer dollars going towards the restoration of the cross.

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Thank you for joining us for the First Liberty Briefing, an exclusive podcast where host Jeremy Dys—also First Liberty Senior Counsel—provides an insider’s look at the stories, cases, people and laws that have made America the world’s leader in protecting religious liberty.

It all started with a postal worker, a bunch of pigs, and an old time radio show. But, it ended in court.

Back in 1937, Wayman Presley, an Illinois postal worker, decided that it would be a good idea to erect a cross on Bald Knob. The fundraising was slow until Ralph Edwards interviewed Presley on the wildly popular radio show, “This is Your Life.”

Myrta Clutts must’ve heard the show because she soon conceived the idea to raise and sell pigs to finish the construction. Clutts, with the help of Presley, raised $30,000 worth of pork.Postal Worker, Pigs, Radio, Cross Ended Up In Court Together

So, there it stood: 111 feet of gleaming white concrete, 1,034 feet above sea level, near the Bald Knob Wilderness.

But, it turns out, not everyone liked it.

Robert Sherman didn’t. So, Sherman did what most don’t think to do when they disagree with an inanimate object: he sued the State of Illinois for giving out a grant to help restore the aging monument.

But, his lawsuit was dismissed.

Turns out Sherman didn’t have a dog, or a pig, in the fight.

Just because someone is a taxpayer is not enough connection to a case to challenge an action by the state. Sherman v. Illinois raises an important point: just because someone is offended by something religious does not mean a lawsuit will be successful.

State officials should remember that next time someone demands they purge religion from public view.

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