Court says park cross stays because to remove it would be ‘hostile to religion’
A historic World War II-era memorial cross will be allowed to remain in a park in Pensacola, Florida, after the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals followed U.S. Supreme Court precedent on the issue and concluded that removing it would “strike many as aggressively hostile to religion.”
The cross was built in 1941, as the U.S. prepared to enter WWII, as a place for the community to unite. Since then, “Pensacola citizens have held community events such as Easter sunrise services, Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day remembrances, and other voluntary gatherings at the monument, which has become a significant symbol for the Pensacola community.”
But four “Pensacola residents,” including three who don’t live in the city, and two of those don’t even live in the United States, and the last who used the cross for his own “satanic purposes,” complained.
The American Humanist Association, on behalf of the four “residents,” sued the city in 2016, and the following year, a district court judge ruled the structure violated the Constitution.
In fact the case should not even have been filed.
“Ultimately, the court need not reach any of these issues, because plaintiffs lack standing to sue. Two plaintiffs submitted no evidence of standing and have since left the country. The third plaintiff does not live in Pensacola and has suffered no cognizable injury. The last plaintiff not only lacks any injury, but negated any claim of injury by reserving the cross and using it for his own ‘satanic purposes,'” the filing explains.
A special concurrence also was written by court members that ridiculed the concept that someone would demand a cross be removed because they are “offended” or “affronted.”