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Indiana Town Embroiled in Cross Controversy

By Todd Starnes

A small Indiana town may have to remove a super-sized cross anchored on public property after a someone filed a complaint with Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

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The Dugger Town Council voted unanimously to move the 26-foot tall cross to avoid a possible lawsuit. Americans United sent a letter to town officials explaining that the cross had to be moved because it was an unlawful government endorsement of Christianity.

The cross, emblazoned with the words “Jesus Saves” is located on public property along Highway 54 near the high school baseball field. It was built by two men who are members of Faith Community Church.

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Courtesy of Faith Community Church

Pastor Shawn Farris said the demands from Americans United are “horrible.”

“Religious freedom is being attacked,” he told Fox News. “I think it’s the minority coming against the majority.”

Farris said he was alerted Monday evening of the council’s decision to have the church relocate the cross.

“They said they really didn’t want to do it but they were afraid of the legal fight and wouldn’t be able to afford the fight,” he said.

Word of American United’s attack has sparked outrage across the state. Farris said they’ve been overwhelmed with calls from churches offering to help.

Dozens of citizens have been gathering around the base of the cross to pray and worship — hoping that a miracle might save what has become a landmark in this small community.

“I am not afraid of (the activist group),” resident Vicki Figg told the Greene County Daily World. “We may not have the funds to hire an attorney, but the people of Dugger are represented by a Higher Power and we will prevail. Our cross will stay where it is.”

Raemi Bowne wondered if Americans United might demand the town remove its power poles — seeing how the utility poles are “cross-shaped.”

“Some people just need something to complain about to hurt others,” she said. “It’s nonsense. Some people need to find Jesus — or something else to do with their time.”

““It’s a really bad situation where groups like this come and target not just small towns but Christianity and the message of Jesus Christ in general,” Farris said.

The cross was constructed in 2010. The town board gave permission for the church to erect the cross on a patch of public ground.

Courtesy of Faith Community Church

“We wanted to put it up on the highway so more people could see it,” Farris said. “Jesus — the cross is a symbol of hope. He is the one we can turn to when we have problems. He’s the answer to every problem that we have in this world – especially as we see our country falling apart and the biblical foundation crumbling.”

Several religious liberty groups have offered to help the church fight Americans United — but if they lose – Farris said they’ll have a big problem on their hands — how to move it.

The cross is built out of cast iron and solid steel. It’s bolted to a foundation of six yards of concrete.

Farris said whether the cross stays or has to be moved is not the point.

“I hope they realize that God is still in control,” he said. “No matter what, I believe God will provide a place for the cross.”

But the pastor also believes there’s a lesson for the nation to learn from the giant cross in the small town of Dugger.

He said it’s proof that Christianity is under attack.

“We have no animosity, we have no hatred towards the people who called this group,” he said. “It’s an attack on Christianity from the enemy of Christianity — and that’s Satan himself.”

Americans United gave the town 30 days to respond to their letter.