Residents voice their opinion over religious symbol

Residents of La Crescent are voicing their opinion about a religious symbol that’s become  a hot button issue over the past few months.

A group based out of Madison called the Freedom From Religion Foundation is asking the city to remove what is known as the La Crescent cross and star landmark. The group says it’s illegal for a city government to place religious symbols on public land.

The city held a public listening session Tuesday night on what to do with the cross, however the foundation’s attorney says the meeting doesn’t make the sign any less illegal.

“It doesn’t matter if 100 people show up in support and only one person is against it, it is a violation of the first amendment. The rest of the Bill of Rights is there to protect the minority from the tyranny of majority,” said Rebecca Markert, a staff attorney with the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

The foundation has received several complaints from concerned citizens who disagree with this religious display. But many residents say removing the landmark shouldn’t be decided by anyone, but the people who live in the city.

“This is our decision, if people within the city want to petition to take it down, let’s see the petition, let’s see the support for it. Otherwise, this is ours and it’s our decision, not somebody from out of town to tell us what to do,” said La Crescent resident Luke Hammell.

One person at the meeting drove from Onalaska to share his thoughts and stand up for the minority.               

“People that like the cross, how would they feel if there was a large statue of Buddha or a Muslim symbol right next to that cross they wouldn’t like it, it’s unconstitutional for that reason” said the Onalaska resident. 

The cross and star was created by the local Lions Club when it was on private land back in the early 70’s. The city then bought a portion of the land, but Lions Club continued to pay for the maintenance and utilities for the symbol.