There is no war on Christmas or Christianity. There is a war on the Constitution of the United States and the First Amendment.
The City of Ozark, Missouri (located south of Springfield, MO) and the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) are heading for a major argument concerning a Christian cross erected on the city of Ozark property as part of their annual holiday display and the First Amendment to our Constitution.
The Latin cross in Ozark’s Finley River Park is not a small display; it is supported by a pole several stories tall. A citizen complained to the FFRF and they, in turn, mailed a notice to the city that the display is in violation of the First Amendment.
On December 11, 2018, the city agreed and was prepared to take down the cross. However later that same day, because of pressure from Ozark’s citizenry, the city decided that the cross will remain lit and on public property.
Mayor Rick Gardner argued that “This is a Christian county, for Pete’s sake.” It was decided that the cross is to stay up for the holiday season while the city seeks a legal opinion.
Christian County, which Ozark is the county seat, was not named for the religion, but for an American Revolutionary War soldier named William Christian in 1859.
The FFRF reminded Ozark, “More than 1.2 million Missourians are nonreligious. By erecting a large Christian cross, Ozark is alienating a sizable number of Missourians and Americans.”
The Supreme Court has backed up FFRF’s position numerous times. In “Allegheny v. American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Pittsburgh, 492 U.S. 573 (1989) … specified that the Establishment Clause would unquestionably prohibit a city from placing its imprimatur on a large permanent cross”.
“In ACLU v. St. Charles (1986), the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals prohibited the city of St. Charles (MO) from displaying an illuminated Latin cross on the top of the city’s fire department as a part of its annual Christmas display.”
Our Founding Fathers were very astute as to the problems related to the combining church and state into one governing entity, a theocracy. They saw the problems in England, France and other European countries, and wanted to avoid it in the new nation. The Constitution is a secular document and is noted for not including a national religion or mention of Christianity.
The very first section of the First Amendment specifically states that government will not promote any religion but will not restrict individuals from practicing their religions, thus Thomas Jefferson’s “wall of separation” found in his 1803 letter to the Danbury Baptist Asso