The petty protests from an atheist organization pressured a California mother to remove a cross from the site where son was tragically killed. AnnMarie Devaney had placed a five-foot cross on the side of the road in Lake Elsinore to honor her 19-year-old son, Anthony, who was killed two years ago after being struck by a car. However, the American Humanist Association in Washington, D.C., sent her a letter last week that demanded she remove the cross.
The atheist group said her cross was on city property and therefore violated a constitutional separation of church and state. Although Devaney agreed to remove the cross, her family and other supporters decided to place numerous crosses at the same site to replace it. “They said they have to take that one down,” said Doug Johnson, who brought six crosses with him. “But they didn’t say anything about putting another one up.”
Speaking to local reporters, Devaney appeared equally moved by the supporters who came out and hurt by the actions of the atheist organization. “It’s like I’m losing my son again, pretty much. It hurts when you lose a child. It’s so petty and sad that they have to complain over removing a cross,” she said. “It’s his personal preference that he was Christian. What’s wrong with having a cross up?”
Last month, the American Humanist Association successfully won a court battle regarding Lake Elsinore’s plans at a minor league baseball stadium for a veterans monument that depicted a service member kneeling next to a cross at a grave site. A U.S. District Court judge ruled that the memorial plan was unconstitutional and needed to be redesigned.