Friday, November 23, 2012

Atheists Knock Christmas Cross Off IL Water Tower

After a 40-year tradition in Alsip, Illinois, there won't be a lighted cross on the village water tower for Christmas this year.  The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation threatened a lawsuit if the cross lit up another year.  The mayor said Alsip can't afford the legal battle.  Not a word has been heard from local churches on the matter.

-- From "'Nobody Ever Complained' About Cross: Alsip Mayor" by Nick Swedberg, Oak Lawn Patch 11/20/12

Alsip Mayor Patrick Kitching told Patch on Monday that the Freedom from Religion Foundation's asked the village remove a cross, which has been stored on top of the West 119th Street water tower year round and lighted every holiday season for almost 40 years.

"They tried to get me to take it down last year and I just ignored them," Kitching said.

The cross has been used by Alsip since 1973 as part of the village's municipal Christmas —until last week. Alsip removed the cross and is now looking at an alternative decoration for the water tower at West 119th Street.

The Alsip mayor said he didn't want to spend taxpayer money on a legal battle that was likely unwinnable. Rulings have consistently favored those who have brought court cases against municipalities displaying religious imagery on public land or property.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Lawsuit threat means Alsip Christmas tradition gets crossed off" by Steve Metsch, Southtown Star (Chicago Sun-Times) 11/20/12

In a letter to residents and businesses, Kitching wrote: “I am very saddened by this and had hoped we would not have to change tradition. However, in these economic times, the village cannot afford to waste any tax dollars on a lawsuit that simply cannot be won.

Contacted Monday at the village hall, Kitching said, “I know we can’t win. There’s no point in fighting it.”

“I really am [offended]. It’s a tradition, and our tradition has been slapped down. They told me an anonymous [Alsip resident] complained. I doubt that,” Kitching said. “I think they (foundation members) were driving down the tollway and saw our cross.”

Kitching has not heard from any churches in Alsip since the announcement was made.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.