Cross Examining a Church Display
A 230-foot cross is hard to miss. And that’s exactly what Texan Patrick Greene objected to. When the atheist activist heard that Abundant Life Fellowship Church in Corpus Christi planned on building the “tallest cross in America” on their campus, he decided to do something about it.
In a ridiculous effort to stop the display, Greene filed suit in district Court, insisting that the towering site off of Interstate 37 gave preference to religion. Pastor Rick Milby and his congregation certainly hope so, since the point of project was to spotlight Jesus Christ.
After three years of working to raise the money for a cross so high that it needed clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration, Milby broke ground in January — only to have to waste time explaining in court why it was perfectly constitutional to build a cross on church grounds.
Fortunately, Judge Missy Medary agreed and tossed out the claim. In the hearing, Greene was so chagrined that he agreed to drop his claims against Abundant Life Fellowship — and, in an unusual twist, even admitted that his lawsuit was “baseless,” “vexatious,” and “without merit.”
Jeremy Dys of First Liberty, who represented the pastor, knew from the start that Greene didn’t have a legal leg to stand on. “Today’s outcome should send a clear message to anti-religious-freedom activists everywhere: if you abuse the legal system by suing people simply because you don’t like how they exercise their religion, there will be legal consequences.”
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