Church officials in Mississippi are upset because their city’s planning commission is blocking their attempt to erect a massive 110-foot cross. Planning commission officials in Brandon, Miss., think the cross that First Baptist Church of Brandon wants to build violates local ordinances. The church’s leader, Pastor Scott Thomas, believes that the city is worried that the cross might offend people.
The cross is being sponsored by a group that encourages placing large crosses in public areas, Crosses Across America. CAA was scouting locations in Mississippi and decided that Brandon was perfect because drivers on nearby Interstate 20 would be able to see the cross as they drove past, The Daily Mail reported.
The project has already been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration and the Mississippi Department of Transportation. Brandon’s mayor, Butch Lee, said that the cross can only be 20 feet high because it is considered an auxiliary structure.
“The cross is not a sign or a billboard; it’s a symbol,” Lee said. “It does place government in a precarious situation if you allow a variance to a religious symbol at that height.”
Thomas feels that blocking the cross discriminates against Christians.
“They asked other questions that indicate to me that there’s something else that concerns them. They asked, ‘What if the Muslims, the Buddhists want to build a sign?’” Pastor Thomas said.
Mayor Lee denies the vote against the cross had anything to do with upsetting other religions. “We’ve got Christians calling Christians ungodly. It’s digressing to a sad point rather than both sides being in prayer and seeking compromise,” he said.
A final decision about the cross will be made on Sept. 16.