This was originally published on Liberal America on June 23, 2017.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is demanding that a cross be removed from a Texas sheriff’s office.
A concerned local resident informed the FFRF about the cross that is prominently displayed outside of the Presidio County Sheriff’s office. The cross features an eagle clutching a police badge over a holstered gun. It reads “Peace” and “Grace.”
The inscription reads:
“The Lord will guide you always.”
FFRF Managing Staff Attorney Rebecca Markert writes to County Sheriff Danny Dominguez:
“The permanent display of a Latin cross in a government office is unconstitutional. The display of this patently religious symbol on public property confers government endorsement of Christianity, a blatant violation of the Establishment Clause.”
The cross is clearly visible to all visitors. It creates the false belief that the sheriff’s office is an arm of the Christian faith. It creates the troubling message that the 30 percent of Americans who are not Christian are not equal citizens.
The FFRF reports:
“The display is made more problematic by the imagery included on the cross. An eagle, a police badge, and a holstered gun together with a religious message, all on the cross, more transparently draws a connection between the Presidio County Sheriff’s Department and the Christian religion — creating an unambiguous endorsement of Christianity. The display sends the message that the sheriff’s department is an arm of the Christian faith, relegating non-Christian residents of Presidio County to second-class status and making those residents question law enforcement’s commitment to serve and protect them.”
FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor says:
“The Presidio County Sheriff’s Department is engaging in a blatant endorsement of Christianity. Non-Christian citizens cannot feel comfortable in the Sheriff’s Office with such an obviously Christian sign.”
This is not the first cross removal case this year. This month, a cross at a park in Pensacola, Florida was ruled unconstitutional and will be taken down by the city.