Whiteville Cross Returns

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The city of Whiteville is back in the spotlight after another cross is displayed on city-owned property. A resident who passes by city hall every day, recently spotted two white crosses in front of the building, and said he was offended by them. Now, the Freedom From Religion Foundation is getting involved again. Residents told 7 Eyewitness News the crosses are not a big deal. “It’s freedom of speech, and if that’s their religion and they want it right there, I believe that they should have it right there,” said resident William Gonzalez . Back in October, the city was threatened with a lawsuit if it did not take down the cross atop the water tower. Instead, it only took down only one arm of the cross. Since then, two crosses have been placed in front of city hall. “The day they tried to make them remove the cross they’ve just really been putting them all over now,” resident Edward Robinson said. “You go through Whiteville, you see a lot of people who have crosses in their front yards standing up for our city,” Gonzalez said. When 7 Eyewitness News contacted the Freedom From Religion Foundation, co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor sent us this statement: “The Freedom From Religion Foundation and our local complainant were shocked that the Mayor of Whiteville would plant two Latin crosses by the entrance to Whiteville City Hall. This sends not only an unconstitutional message of endorsement by the city government of Christianity, but it sends a hostile and improper message of intimidation and exclusion of non-Christians. This is an even more egregious Establishment Clause violation than the cross atop the Whiteville water tower. What’s next?” Residents said they do not see a problem. “It’s not really a big deal to me,” Robinson said. “If that’s what they want to put a cross there, I think it’s fine but some people don’t like it but I don’t see nothing wrong with it though.” “It’s kind’ve scary what’s going to happen because they’ve already taken everything out of schools, the pledge and all that, so you don’t know where it’s going to go,” resident David Brinser said. 7 Eyewitness News was unable to reach Whiteville Mayor James Bellar for comment about the crosses. However, we did notice that he has a similar cross in front of his insurance business, a couple doors down from City Hall.

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