Group sends second letter regarding PN cross

Published 9:49 pm Thursday, January 21, 2016

City leaders in Port Neches have received another letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation asking once again for the removal of the cross at Port Neches Riverfront Park.

The letter, sent via e-mail to Mayor Glenn Johnson and signed Madeline Ziegler, who is with the FFRF legal group, states it is unlawful for the city to display this “patently religious symbol on public property.”

The group also refers to a November rally in support of the cross in which Johnson stated most residents in the city are in favor of the cross and very few object to it.

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A video of the event showed Johnson saying “we have 13,000 people in the city of Port Neches and one is offended.”

“Contrary to your claim that there is a ‘right’ to ‘majority rule,’ the Bill of Rights exists precisely to protect individual citizens fro the tyranny of majority. As mayor, you serve al citizens of Port Neches, not just the Christian ones you personally agree with,” the letter stated.

Johnson, in a phone call with the Port Arthur News, said the letter, like the one submitted to the city in November, has been turned over to the city’s legal department.

They are in the process of determining the best course of action for the city,” Johnson said.

The 10-foot tall white cross stands near the riverside of the park. There is no writing or engraving on the cross.

According to the letter, a concerned citizen brought the issue to the group’s attention.

The FFRF said the Latin cross is a principal symbol of Christianity around the world and “display of the cross alone would not reasonably be taken to have any secular point,” according to the letter which cites Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board v. Pinette, 1995.

The letter goes on to state a majority of federal courts have held displays of Latin crosses on public property to be an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.


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