COLDSPRING, Texas – Four crosses on the San Jacinto County Courthouse in Coldspring will stay, despite a group asking for them to be removed.
The County Commissioners Court voted unanimously Wednesday to keep the crosses.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation claimed any religious symbol displayed by the government is unconstitutional.
More than 600 people showed up to the meeting, which was moved to accommodate everyone.
Commissioners listed to public comments for three hours.
A large cross that is on the Coldspring water tower, which is lit up during Christmas, will be removed even though no one asked for the cross to go.
“These crosses unabashedly create the perception of government endorsement of Christianity,” an attorney for the national organization, based in Wisconsin, said in a letter to the local judge, Fritz Faulkner.
The courthouse sits at the center of Coldspring, Texas, which has a population under 900 people and is about 60 miles north of Houston. The crosses, one on each upper window, are lit up during Christmas.
In its letter, FFRF said, “a concerned Coldspring resident” reported the crosses, which the organization called “a blatant violation of the Establishment clause” of the Constitution.
Here is that clause: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...”
“If it offends them, close your eyes when you go by,” David Blevins said. “If you don’t like it, don’t look at it.”
FFRF represents unnamed “concerned residents” in many states and cities across the country and in Texas, demanding that government officials remove religious imagery from everything from courthouses to fire stations.
Sometimes the organization is successful, other times they aren’t. The Longview Fire Department recently removed a cross that was part of a Christmas display from its lawn after an FFRF complaint.
Earlier this year, FFRF asked the Shelby County, Texas Sheriff’s Office to remove three crosses from its lawn. The crosses have not been taken down.