Tenn. Town Sued for Keeping Crosses on Display

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The town of Whiteville, Tenn., is being sued over crosses on public land.

Last year, the Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation sent several letters to Whiteville Mayor James Bellar, complaining about a cross on top of the local water tower.

After receiving no response, the group threatened to sue the town, located 50 miles east of Memphis, if the cross wasn't removed.

"We have a godless and secular Constitution. There is no Jesus. There is no Ten Commandments. There is no crosses. There is no God in our Constitution," Annie Laurie Gaylor, the foundation's co-president, said during an interview.

"You would have to take a jack hammer and blow up the city of Washington, D.C., with all the Christian principles that are all over the place," said Jack Sedory, a Whiteville resident.

Instead of removing the cross, the town removed just one arm from it in protest. They also placed two more crosses in front of City Hall.

The Jackson Sun reported Monday that the lawsuit was filed on behalf of a Freedom From Religion Foundation member who is "non-religious" and who regularly does business in Whiteville. T

he plaintiff, referred to as John Doe, is asking the court to remain anonymous for fear of "physical and economic reprisals," according to the suit.

The mayor said he has not received a lawsuit yet, but he says the town plans to answer it.

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