LUDINGTON, Mich. (AP/WOOD) — Officials in western Michigan will hold a meeting this month to get public feedback on calls for the removal of a large cross that’s stood along Lake Michigan for decades.
The Michigan Association of Civil Rights Activists and the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation say the Father Marquette cross, which is maintained with public funding, is unconstitutional.
The Michigan Association of Civil Rights Activists is the same group that fought for the removal of a large white cross on Grand Haven’s Dewey Hill, a Bible verse on display in Jenison’s Hager Park, and Bible study during lunchtime and recess in Hudsonville.
The Ludington Daily News reports the Pere Marquette Township Board will hold the special meeting Jan. 23 in Ludington.
The two groups say the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause prohibits Pere Marquette Township from displaying and maintaining such religious symbols. Others contend the legal issues aren’t that clear cut.
Marquette was among the first Europeans to explore the area in the 1600s. The cross was built in 1955 on the spot where he supposedly died.