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Both sides discuss future of cross along Lake Michigan

LUDINGTON, Mich. -- A cross honoring the memory of Fr. Jacques Marquette been a staple along Pere Marquette Lake for decades, but now there are groups calling for the removal of the cross because of its religious nature.

Marquette was a French explorer who traveled the Great Lakes in the mid-1600's before passing away in 1675.

The future of the cross is expected to be decided at a special meeting planned later this month, after groups called for the Pere Marquette Township board to remove the cross.

"I just think it's unfortunate that people want to take the cross down, just because he is such a historical impact, not only to Ludington but to St. Ignace and Sault Ste. Marie and all throughout Michigan as well, so I just think it's kind of sad," Marie Macdonnell said.

The monument now stands on Lakeshore Drive overlooking  Pere Marquette Lake. While Marquette died in the Ludington area and was originally buried there, his remains were moved to the St. Ignace area, the home of the Father Marquette National Memorial.

Groups like the Michigan Association of Civil Rights say the cross is unconstitutional, but some locals say it's more than a religious symbol that also serves as a reference point for boaters and fishermen on the lake.

Zach Malott, who is against the removal of the cross, said "the community holds it more as a monument than a religious shrine."

FOX 17 reached out to the Michigan Association of Civil Rights Activists for comment on this story, and spokesman Mitch Kahle responded with the following statement:

"There's nothing new in this case until the township board votes on the matter. Based on the facts and legal precedent, we encourage the township board to take action that removes the offending cross but maintains the existing masonry structure and plaque. The township has other options, of course, but this would be a simple, reasonable, fair-minded, and virtually cost-free solution that would satisfy complainants and the law."

The meeting is planned for January 23.

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81 comments

  • Kevin Rahe

    The idea that a clearly important historical figure cannot be honored with a monument that accurately reflects what was important to and motivated them is ridiculous. In cases where such a symbol merely represents something common and important to the people in an area, I can see expecting it to be established and maintained with private funds. But this case doesn’t even call for THAT much “separation” between church and state, since it honors a PERSON more than a FAITH. If we have to erase what drove a person to do what they did in order to honor them, we’re not being honest, especially with our own descendants.

  • J.B.

    Diversity and all of its so called benefits is preached/foisted upon us constantly, and i do mean CONSTANTLY….
    That is, until something offends a so called minority.
    Then it must be completely removed/destroyed/buried and the history books scrubbed clean of any mention.
    Anyone else getting sick of this completely hypocritical PC narrative?
    Not to mention the constant scrabble to appease it in every way possible.
    Build a bridge and get over it already, either that or just go back to whence your whiny litigious self came from.
    You will not be missed.

  • GB

    If someone dont believe in God, why does it bother them so much,people that do believe, also have the right to express thier views, this seems to be a one way street, either way, the war on religion continues today even !

    • jeffinbville (@jeffinputnam)

      I’m not taking a side on this issue because I don’t care if it stays or not. But the cross, no matter how it’s situated or portrayed, is a religious symbol and that cannot be denied or excused away.

      The issue here is that it sits on *government* land and a religious symbol on public land can be construed as an endorsement of a particular brand of religion and that would make it unconstitutional. This is the reason for the lawsuit.

      As for “the war on religion”… When the ‘religious’ stop trying to invade a woman’s private life or get all pissy because two guys want to get married and are willing to take “In God We Trust” off the money we can have a talk about who the war was actually against. It’s possible people are just as uncomfortable with the push-back from modern, secular society as the latter has been having Christianity shoved down its throat for so long.

      • Kevin Rahe

        Someone could only interpret it as an “endorsement of a particular brand of religion” by either ignoring the fact that it honors a particular important historical figure, or by presuming that the historical figure was honored in the first place because someone wanted to use him to promote that religion. Either one is utterly ridiculous.

        • トムソン ジョージ

          Actually the only ridiculous part is your ignoring the clearly religious icon that a person must investigate to learn about the purpose behind it. It’s an unquestionably effort to endorse and advance a religion using government land and funds ($75,000 of taxpayer money to renovate).

          • Kevin Rahe

            Practically any cross found apart from a church or other religious establishment is a memorial to a person or in some cases a group of people. If someone’s first impression is something else, they must be very new to the country, or have been living under a rock for a few decades.

          • トムソン ジョージ

            “Practically any cross found apart from a church or other religious establishment is a memorial to a person or in some cases a group of people.”

            Incorrect. There are many crosses installed on private property of citizens and displayed at various businesses that aren’t memorials. The religious quality is unambiguous, but doesn’t violate The Constitution as it’s not involving government authority or resources.

          • Kevin Rahe

            I live in one of the more religious parts of the country, and I have seen very few private individuals install a free-standing cross on their property, let alone a business doing so. I can’t image the practice is actually more popular elsewhere. In any case, they’re certainly a tiny fraction of the number of such free-standing crosses overall.

  • Wings

    I hope this board uses their heads and Keep the cross. This has nothing to do with religeon. Tell this group to go fly a kite somewhere else.
    Do not back down from these idiots.

  • Dean

    I am borderline Atheist and I find this ridiculous. If this historical monument offends you then stay away from it. Plain and simple. Morons. It’s pathetic that someone has nothing more important to do with their lives.

    • トムソン ジョージ

      Forcing citizens to pay for a religion using taxes offends me. A government organization endorsing a religion offends me, and violates my religious rights. A cross installed on private property doesn’t offend me. …or are you asserting that a Latin cross or the related religion are inherently offensive?

      • Kevin Rahe

        If a cross installed on private property doesn’t offend you or the person who brought this complaint, then why aren’t you and they simply recommending that the township return the site to a private association like the one it acquired the memorial from some years ago, rather than requesting that the cross be torn down? If the complainant did that, I think those defending the cross would be much more likely to believe that they are being honest with their concerns, and also more likely to encourage the township to work with them to address those concerns, rather than overwhelmingly asking the township to fight them, as I witnessed last night.

        • トムソン ジョージ

          If it’s properly sold at auction or divested in a way that avoids a sweetheart sale, the section sold is clearly demarcated as private property, and the planned $75,000 renovation doesn’t happen using taxpayer dollars.

          I didn’t suggest something like that because I think the park department (or whatever government organization is in charge of this space) is perfectly capable of caring for and maintaining a constitutionally compliant monument. Apparently the religiosity of the monument is more important than the man for most defenders of the current design.

          • Kevin Rahe

            The man specifically requested he be memorialized with nothing but a simple cross. So is the man more important to someone who honors and defends those wishes or someone who completely disregards them?

            If the parcel becomes private property again I would agree with demarcating it as private property as long as ALL private property is required to be so demarcated.

          • トムソン ジョージ

            “The man specifically requested he be memorialized with nothing but a simple cross.”

            This is the first I’ve heard of this. Do you have a source for this claim?

            “as long as ALL private property is required to be so demarcated.”

            Why?

          • Kevin Rahe

            “This is the first I’ve heard of this. Do you have a source for this claim?”

            It’s referenced in a column published in the Ludington Daily News this past Dec. 24. No particular source is identified, but it jives with how the site has apparently always been treated.

            “Why?”

            Why treat one piece of private property differently than another? Was the site demarcated as private property when it was previously private? If so, then you might have a case to have that done again. Otherwise, there is no basis for attaching such strings to the deal.

          • トムソン ジョージ

            “Why treat one piece of private property differently than another?”

            Oh, I’m not saying that the private owner would be on the hook. To avoid the impression of continued religious endorsement it would be in the local governments best interest to show that the monument isn’t on government land.

          • Kevin Rahe

            “To avoid the impression of continued religious endorsement…”

            Practically no one – Christians, atheists, left- and right-leaning folks among them – thinks the memorial represents endorsement of a religion NOW. Why would there be any concern of that if/when it becomes private property again?

          • Kevin Rahe

            Based on the comments from those at the meeting, including at least one person who thought the memorial shouldn’t be maintained with public funds (but who still apparently erroneously considered it a memorial to an INDIVIDUAL rather than a monument to a RELIGION), your view is in the extreme both ideologically and statistically, at least among those who might encounter the site in their normal travels. I don’t think it’s anything a court would have to be concerned about.

          • トムソン ジョージ

            All citizens have equal rights in this country. Only one person out of millions is needed to request a fair hearing. Your interesting in dismissing a minority opinion is very telling. I wonder if you’ll recognize your cognitive dissonance when you argue a minority position.

          • Kevin Rahe

            The only thing that can be done to redress the complaint of an individual who asserts that someone is violating the law is to stop the violation. The First Amendment merely says that government cannot establish a religion. There is no legal recourse for some extremist who merely finds that a situation might APPEAR to be an endorsement of religion when it actually is not, was not intended to appear as such, and IS not according to the vast majority of people.

          • トムソン ジョージ

            “The First Amendment merely says that government cannot establish a religion. ”

            There are many ways that a government can establish a religion. In this case, giving preferential treatment to iconography of only one religion is a way of establishing that religion as favored. Our government isn’t allowed to do that, so even cases of unintentional endorsement are expected to be corrected.

            The other issue in this case (that you still haven’t addressed) is violating the religious rights of citizens by forcing them to fund repairs of this religious iconography to the tune of $75,000.

          • Kevin Rahe

            If the complainant thought the “endorsement” was unintentional and merely wants it corrected, then he would merely request undoing the act that resulted in the infraction as unobtrusively as possible. This, in fact, has been the solution employed elsewhere, even without a court order requiring it to be done.

            As for the money aspect, I find maintaining historic sites a legitimate function of government, at least as long as they’re maintained in a way that respects how they were always maintained before, without going overboard. Now if they want to make radical changes to the way a site is maintained, then I think it should be subject to public debate and maybe even a vote of the people.

          • トムソン ジョージ

            “If the complainant thought the “endorsement” was unintentional and merely wants it corrected,”

            That’s why The FFRF has notified the local government of this issue and is giving them time to correct the violation.

            “As for the money aspect, I find maintaining historic sites a legitimate function of government,”

            Yes, if you ignore the conflict with the religious prohibition. Do you understand how this would be a way of forcing citizens to pay for religious iconography at the same time? Effectively imposing a religious tax on citizens.

          • Kevin Rahe

            There is no prohibition on the government paying for religious iconography per se. Look at the headstones in Arlington. And I believe the the government maintains many other historical sites of religious significance, including Native American, Native Hawaiian and even church buildings erected by early Christian settlers.

          • トムソン ジョージ

            “There is no prohibition on the government paying for religious iconography per se. Look at the headstones in Arlington.”

            Correct. As I’ve said many times, equal treatment given to multiple religions satisfies the prohibition. The issue is establishing one religion as favored or preferred by our government.

            “And I believe the the government maintains many other historical sites of religious significance, including Native American, Native Hawaiian and even church buildings erected by early Christian settlers.”

            I can’t say for sure, but I recall the Native American and Hawaiian sites being part of preservation efforts, and preserving cultures that are at risk of dying out. I’m guessing that you’d agree that Christianity is not at risk in a similar way. …but I am curious about churches that you vaguely referenced. Could you name some specifics that I could look up?

          • Kevin Rahe

            “I recall the Native American and Hawaiian sites being part of preservation efforts, and preserving cultures that are at risk of dying out. I’m guessing that you’d agree that Christianity is not at risk in a similar way.”

            I don’t think it would make a difference from a Constitutional perspective.

            “…but I am curious about churches that you vaguely referenced. Could you name some specifics that I could look up?”

            It’s not clear from this page that all (or any) of them are currently maintained with public funds, but here is a list of chapels and churches in national parks, one of which was actually constructed with government funds early in the last century: thecompletepilgrim.com/chapels-national-parks/

          • トムソン ジョージ

            “I don’t think it would make a difference from a Constitutional perspective.”

            Okay. Have you checked with The FFRF? They might be willing to help you with these potential violations of The Establishment Clause.

            “It’s not clear from this page that all (or any) of them are currently maintained with public funds, but here is a list of chapels and churches in national parks, one of which was actually constructed with government funds early in the last century:”

            Again, have you check with The FFRF regarding these?

          • Kevin Rahe

            I wouldn’t consider preserving or restoring Native American or Hawaiian religious sites or artifacts that existed before the government acquired the property they’re on any more likely to be a violation of the Establishment Clause than maintaining Fr. Marquette’s memorial is.

          • トムソン ジョージ

            “I wouldn’t consider preserving or restoring Native American or Hawaiian religious sites or artifacts that existed before the government acquired the property they’re on any more likely to be a violation of the Establishment Clause than maintaining Fr. Marquette’s memorial is.”

            So The FFRF is one of the best groups to address government/religion violations of The Establishment Clause. I’m sure they can explain how those are or aren’t impacted by The Establishment Clause. If you get information, I’d be curious to hear what they say.

          • Kevin Rahe

            The FFRF reaches for any possible iota of fact it could use as an argument that the Establishment Clause has been violated. It gives no weight at all to the claimed reasons that some religious sites or objects are allowed to continue existing in the government’s domain. In other words, it does not operate in good faith. It is therefore nowhere near an impartial party in assessing the legality of such situations.

          • トムソン ジョージ

            “It gives no weight at all to the claimed reasons that some religious sites or objects are allowed to continue existing in the government’s domain.”

            Incorrect. I’ve mentioned examples of equal religious representation that are perfectly compliant with constitutional law, and The FFRF has actively participated by installing their own atheist displays when other religions are given equal representation by various government organizations.

  • Sue Johnson

    These idiots need to take it somewhere else. Let’s start removing monuments that favor their views and see how they like it.

    • Kevin Rahe

      Spot on. Whatever logic would be used to have this cross removed would squarely apply to religious (or at least particularly Christian, since that is the only religion targeted by these folks) symbols in a graveyard as well.

    • トムソン ジョージ

      Government owned cemeteries, like Arlington National, give equal treatment to all religions. This is not a grave. It’s a monument that gives preferential, exclusionary representation to one religion in violation of The Establishment Clause. That also maligns our religious rights.

      • Kevin Rahe

        This WAS a grave, and it’s not uncommon to memorialize a person at the place their soul left Earth as much as where their body is buried. The purposes of both are the same. There is no evidence that the township has not given equal treatment to the memorials of people of other faiths who had a connection and importance to the area similar to what Fr. Marquette had.

          • Kevin Rahe

            So the drivel about treating all faiths equally is just bunk, since you obviously don’t care whether a unit of government is operating according to the Constitution. You just want the cross gone.

          • トムソン ジョージ

            “So the drivel about treating all faiths equally is just bunk, since you obviously don’t care whether a unit of government is operating according to the Constitution. You just want the cross gone.”

            I honestly don’t understand how you came to that conclusion. It was formerly a grave, and now it’s a monument that violates The Constitution. No treatment for any religion is a way of giving equal treatment. Why are you assuming animus on my part?

          • Kevin Rahe

            I see nothing in your reasoning that suggests you’d view the matter differently if it still WAS a gravesite. Between that and the fact that people mean the same thing by a memorial to a person whether it marks their actual grave site or not, it’s quite irrelevant to the issue that Fr. Marquette is no longer actually buried there.

          • トムソン ジョージ

            “I see nothing in your reasoning that suggests you’d view the matter differently if it still WAS a gravesite.”

            Going by the law and court precedent, I don’t see why a government gravesite giving exclusive representation to one religion would be treated differently. I wouldn’t have an issue if a solution were found that provides equal treatment for all religions.

            “Between that and the fact that people mean the same thing by a memorial to a person whether it marks their actual grave site or not, it’s quite irrelevant to the issue that Fr. Marquette is no longer actually buried there.”

            Given that other memorials on government land expressing overt religious endorsement have been moved or disposed of (sometimes sold) in other ways, I’m not seeing why this assertion about a former grave location matters. There are thousands of existing burial locations around The US that aren’t marked or have memorials.

          • Kevin Rahe

            “Going by the law and court precedent…”

            The courts have been using a test that no memorial could ever satisfy, whether it contains religious iconography or not. And they’ve been using it in a one-sided fashion to boot. This will change.

            “I wouldn’t have an issue if a solution were found that provides equal treatment for all religions.”

            I say that solution already exists. In fact, if it didn’t – i.e. if anyone thought the township was trying to use Fr. Marquette to promote a religion – I think at least ONE person would have called for the removal of the cross at the meeting Tuesday, perhaps even some religious folks. (As a Catholic who knows his history I am particularly sensitive myself to having too much involvement between church and state.) In over an hour and a half of public comment, including one woman who thought government funds shouldn’t be used to maintain it, no one called for the cross to be taken down.

          • トムソン ジョージ

            “The courts have been using a test that no memorial could ever satisfy, ”

            Inaccurate assertion.

            “i.e. if anyone thought the township was trying to use Fr. Marquette to promote a religion”

            Trying doesn’t matter. It is an endorsement of a religion regardless of intent. Unambiguous religious iconography + no other religions + government resources = violation of The Establishment Clause

          • Kevin Rahe

            The courts’ acceptance of plaintiffs’ “guilty until proven innocent” position, which is anathema to true sense of justice, will also change.

          • Kevin Rahe

            You imply that if the township would treat a non-Christian historical figure with similar importance and ties to the area as Fr. Marquette with the same respect and recognition it gives him, that there would be no Establishment Clause concerns. Can you prove that it wouldn’t do so?

          • トムソン ジョージ

            Incorrect interpretation. You’re inferring qualities that I haven’t stated. I said that The Establishment Clause would be satisfied if other religions were given equal treatment. Currently there is no such equal treatment, so The FFRF notified the local government organization of the issue. If they don’t take corrective action The FFRF would have reason to take them to court for not correcting a violation of national law.

          • Kevin Rahe

            So you agree that if the township had the opportunity to honor a historical figure with ties and importance to the area similar to Fr. Marquette, but of a different religion, and it actually did so, that there would be no Establishment Clause issue?

          • トムソン ジョージ

            “So you agree that if the township had the opportunity to honor a historical figure with ties and importance to the area similar to Fr. Marquette, but of a different religion, and it actually did so, that there would be no Establishment Clause issue?”

            I’m not sure. I’m also not sure that it would have to be a monument to a similar historical figure. For example, a decalogue monument that wasn’t dedicated to anyone was made constitutionally compliant in one state by incorporating similar stone monuments from other religions. Pretty sure it involved 3 or more in that situation to consider it equal treatment for multiple religions.

            You seem to be located nearby. Give it a shot. Pay for a Hindu and Islamic monument and request permission to install them. See if any Satanists are willing to install a Baphomet statue.

          • Kevin Rahe

            So your solution for redressing a situation of government endorsing religion that practically no one else agrees actually is one, where the complaint was triggered by the government expending money on said “endorsement,” is for the government to spend that much more to do what practically EVERYONE would see as endorsing religion. Of all religions, secularism has to be the weirdest!

          • トムソン ジョージ

            “So your solution for redressing a situation of government endorsing religion that practically no one else agrees actually is one,”

            Are you inaccurately assuming that I’m the only person holding this position? You seem to only listen for those who agree with you, and have taken steps to avoid recognizing anyone expressing a dissenting position.

            “where the complaint was triggered by the government expending money on said “endorsement,” is for the government to spend that much more to do what practically EVERYONE would see as endorsing religion.”

            That’s not my suggestion, but it is a technically compliant solution that I’ve seen play out in other situations.

            “Of all religions, secularism has to be the weirdest!”

            It probably strikes you as weird because there is no religion called secularism.

          • Kevin Rahe

            I listened to everyone who spoke at the meeting, and none of them said they thought the memorial represented an expression of religion, or that it was anything other than a purely historical site.

            Secularism behaves very much like a religion, but without any theology to back it up. In fact, when it comes to how far it will go to promote or prohibit actions by citizens and even the government, it is more onerous than my own church.

          • トムソン ジョージ

            “I listened to everyone who spoke at the meeting, and none of them said they thought the memorial represented an expression of religion,”

            Not all citizens could attend. I also wouldn’t blame anyone reluctant to speak up, risking retribution from spiteful supporters of the monument. In similar situations whole communities have ostracized, threatened, and in several cases driven those with dissenting opinions out of the region, fearing for their lives. In one case a state representative called a school girl an “evil little thing” on the radio for pointing out an Establishment Clause violation.

          • Kevin Rahe

            “Not all citizens could attend. I also wouldn’t blame anyone reluctant to speak up, risking retribution from spiteful supporters of the monument. In similar situations whole communities have ostracized, threatened…”

            I’ve been in the minority in similar public meetings, and I was never concerned about such harm. With the possible exception of the state legislature and one suburb of Detroit, most people here seem to value freedom of speech quite highly, even when it’s used for speech they don’t agree with.

          • トムソン ジョージ

            “I’ve been in the minority in similar public meetings, and I was never concerned about such harm.”

            Lucky you. Some, not all, Christians have this tendency to dehumanize atheists in ways that allow them to justify threatening fellow citizens. In general, it’s a common response from Christians when non-Christians threaten their unjust privileges.

          • Kevin Rahe

            I can see going to greater lengths to protect something that you think may not be justified, but which you value. But I didn’t get the feeling that anyone who defended it at the meeting thought the Fr. Marquette memorial might not be justified, however.

          • トムソン ジョージ

            “I can see going to greater lengths to protect something that you think may not be justified, but which you value. But I didn’t get the feeling that anyone who defended it at the meeting thought the Fr. Marquette memorial might not be justified, however.”

            Super. I’ve heard from people who do see the constitutional issue. It’s possible that people were afraid to attend the meeting or your confirmation bias blinded you to attendees who remained silent for any number of reasons.

            Again, I have no issue with honoring Marquette. The current method of honoring him conflicts with constitutional law. I’ve made several suggestions for altering the nature of the monument. You’ve made a suggestion regarding our government divesting itself of the property, which I added some suggestions regarding a constitutionally compliant method for doing that.

            Anything else?

          • Kevin Rahe

            The present method of honoring Fr. Marquette conflicts only with YOUR OPINION of how the Constitution ought to be applied. In a climate where the mainstream media bends over backwards to espouse any number of progressive causes, I don’t buy the idea that someone felt afraid to speak their mind on this matter, especially if they had the same opinion as the complainant.

            Unless there is evidence that the township acquired the property with the intent of violating the Establishment Clause, I think it would be entirely reasonable to let it pass back to a willing party under similar terms as that with which it was acquired, perhaps adjusted for inflation. There is no reason to give someone a chance to acquire it who might want to do something other than preserve it as it was originally intended to be. And even this is dependent on a court deciding that the government cannot be permitted to preserve historical sites or objects as they originally existed because someone might get confused about its intent (which would probably also entail striking down laws requiring the government to pay particular respect to Native American and Hawaiian religious sites), which in turn depends on the township paying attention to this utterly unreasonable complaint in the first place.

          • トムソン ジョージ

            “The present method of honoring Fr. Marquette conflicts only with YOUR OPINION of how the Constitution ought to be applied.”

            My opinion is based on the majority of court decisions and legal explanations of The Lemon Test. I’m like The FFRF in that I look forward to a time when our actions aren’t needed to defend citizen religious rights. Hopefully there comes a time when people stop trying to use government resources to impose their religion on other citizens.

            “I don’t buy the idea that someone felt afraid to speak their mind on this matter, especially if they had the same opinion as the complainant.”

            Your free to hold that opinion.

            “Unless there is evidence that the township acquired the property with the intent of violating the Establishment Clause,”

            Intent doesn’t matter.

            “I think it would be entirely reasonable to let it pass back to a willing party under similar terms as that with which it was acquired, perhaps adjusted for inflation.”

            A fair and compliant method of divesting the property without spending more tax dollars on it makes sense to me as well. I’ve expressed this before but noticed that you never really acknowledged my agreement.

          • Kevin Rahe

            (The other possibility is that after hearing some of the arguments against them, those who favored removing the cross realized that their own arguments were pretty weak and decided not to present them.)

          • トムソン ジョージ

            “(The other possibility is that after hearing some of the arguments against them, those who favored removing the cross realized that their own arguments were pretty weak and decided not to present them.)”

            It’s possible, but unlikely if they understand court precedent and The Lemon Test.

  • Clucko

    Has it ever occurred to those that want it removed that the cross is a monument to Father Marquette and not to themselves? They need to get a life and realize how insignificant and selfish they truly are. If they need to satisfy their “look at me” wishes, why don’t they go to Washington and demand that the memorial to the Rev. Martin Luther King be removed? That’d sure get them noticed. Go away , worthless trash. Nobody’s gonna miss you.

  • Kevin Rahe

    I also ask that the name “Michigan Association of Civil Rights” referenced in the article be changed to the organization’s real name, which is “Michigan Association of Civil Rights Activists.” The former may make the organization sound like an arm of the government to some people, which it is not.

  • Augster

    As an atheist, I’d much rather live among such symbols of goodness and virtue, than among the ubiquitous symbols of filth and despair planted by the Left.

  • Shabadoo Simmons

    I’m about as atheist and progressive as they come and this is silly- this is a grave marker- not a govt structure or endorsement.

    • トムソン ジョージ

      No, it’s a monument that clearly endorses one religion and it’s installed on government property. The government is also forcing citizens to pay for this religious display as they will spend $75,000 to renovate the monument. That is a forced religious tithe similar to taxes that Madison opposed in Virginia.

  • 'Cheryl Van Wormer

    The cross should STAY. It does NOT need to be removed or changed to something else just to satisfy groups like the Michigan Association of Civil Rights who say it’s unconstitutional. I think those groups are just looking for things to declare as unconstitutional and to make/mark their place(s) in history. The cross is the marker for a grave for goodness sake and has been there for quite a long time. Yes, it’s a monument that may have religious connotations but considering who the monument is and was meant for, it’s very appropriate and proper for the cross to be there in his honor. To remove it would be a crime as well as a disgrace to the memory of Fr. Jacques Marquette. In the words of Elsa, “Let it go”, Michigan Association of Civil Rights – drop the subject and leave the monument alone and standing where it is and should be!

    • Kevin Rahe

      To be honest, I hope they continue to push the issue, as it’s one of the grandest opportunities I’ve seen to publicly demonstrate how extreme these folks’ ideology is. I’m seriously considering attending the Jan. 23 meeting personally in order to do just that.

    • トムソン ジョージ

      Is it a grave or a monument?

      As it stands, it is a violation of The Establishment Clause. Forcing citizens to pay ($75,000 to renovate the monument) for obvious religious iconography using government authority violates every citizens religious rights.