Church hopes to save cross now on town land
July 17, 2012 3:08PM
Updated: July 17, 2012 11:17PM
DUGGER (AP) — A church pastor said Tuesday he’s going to work to keep a 26-foot-tall cross along a main road into a southwestern Indiana community even though the church is being asked to remove it from town property.
The Dugger Town Council unanimously agreed Monday to have Faith Community Church move the cross off the property along Indiana 54 after receiving a letter from Washington-based Americans United for Separation of Church and State arguing that the town was unlawfully endorsing Christianity, the Sullivan Daily Times reported.
“The town does not have enough money to fight a legal battle over that cross out there,” council President Dwight Nielson said during the meeting. “My opinion is that we should ask them to remove it.”
Officials in the 900-person town about 30 miles south of Terre Haute gave permission in 2010 for the cross, which has “Jesus Saves” written across it.
Faith Community Pastor Shawn Farris said he was looking at options for keeping the cross in place.
“We had other churches that gave money to it,” Farris told The Indianapolis Star. “It’s more than just ours. It was a community effort.”
A private group might try to buy the property from the town, he said
“We’re going to try to keep it up,” Farris said. “I think the cross is a symbol of hope that this world desperately needs.”
Town Council members said they would give the church a couple months to take down the cross.
“I hate that worse than anything,” Nielson said.