There have been numerous recent demands for a 55-foot cross in Michigan to be removed because it was located on public grounds, but the city where the cross is located has stated that the cross will stand.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) sent a letter in July to officials of Frankenmuth insisting that a cross erected on city-owned land should be removed. They claimed the display was endorsing Christianity over other religions in violation of the Constitution.
On Monday, the City of Frankenmuth formally rejected the demand to take down the 55-foot steel American Bicentennial Cross.
"The cross was raised up by a grateful community. And this community will fight to keep it," Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Law Center, said in a statement Friday.
"The purpose of the cross was not to promote, endorse or coerce anyone to convert to Christianity," Thompson wrote.
The Thomas More Law Center, a national non-profit public interest law firm, was requested by Frankenmuth officials to provide legal representation.
Americans United said that it had warned officials in Frankenmuth that if they did not comply with the requests for removal then they would be the subject of litigation.
"It is an egregious constitutional violation, and violation of separation of church and state," AU legal director Alex Luchenitser told Mlive.com.
"It sends a message that the city holds Christianity above all other religions and a message that non-Christians are not welcome," he added.
Thompson explained that the white cross was erected in Saginaw County's Cross Park to honor the country's 200th birthday in 1976 and celebrate Frankenmuth's vibrant and diverse history.
"The purpose of the cross was not to promote, endorse or coerce anyone to convert to Christianity," Thompson said.
The cross is also a big draw for tourists as it is just down the highway from Bronner's Christmas Wonderland, a famous holiday store that draws visitors from around the nation.