Minnesota City To Decide On Cross And Star Display After Group Complains

| by Nathaly Pesantez

A letter sent to La Crescent, Minnesota Mayor Mike Poellinger in June over a cross and star display on public property has the city joining heads to decide how to address the issue.

The letter sent by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) questions the display of a large cross on public property that the city has illuminated every Easter for approximately 40 years, according to Houston County News. The star included in the display is also illuminated during the Christmas season, which the FFRF also disapproves of.

A cross cannot be displayed on government property, as it would be endorsing Christianity, in violates the constitution, according to the FFRF. The star, the group says, goes against the First Amendment.

La Crescent's City Council met on Monday to review and discuss options for the display.

Brian Krenz, one of the council members, suggests doing away with the cross entirely.

"It is time we show the rest of the state and the nation we are connected to that we are a Minnesota Star City, if not 'The Minnesota Star City', and reward ourselves with a historical landmark that all of La Crescent's residents can take pride in seeing on a nightly basis," Krenz wrote in a letter, according to the La Crosse Tribune.

Dewey Severson, another council member, said in July that the cross and star constitute a "civic landmark".

Severson is treasurer of The Lions Club, the group that initially installed the display. It maintains the cross and star to this day.

"The only thing the city lets us do is use the land," Severson said to the Houston County News. "Three posts in the ground. That's it."

He later added: "We bought it out for the community as a community gesture for the holidays."

Talks are expected to carry on into September, when the subcommittee will present a proposal on how to respond.

Sources: La Crosse TribuneFFRF (2)Houston County News

Photo Credit: Rory O'Driscoll/La Crosse Tribune