Crosses displayed in Ohio village challenged

COLUMBUS (AP) — A group advocating the separation of church and state is protesting a pair of crosses displayed for Easter on a tiny eastern Ohio village’s municipal building.

The Madison, Wis.-based Freedom From Religion Foundation has challenged the claim by the mayor of Stratton that it’s constitutional to display the crosses during holidays.

Mayor John Abdalla temporarily removed the crosses in January after the foundation threatened to sue, but he returned them to celebrate the Easter season. One is Latin, the other Eastern Orthodox.

Abdalla told the Steubenville Herald-Star that such seasonal displays were allowed. The mayor declined to comment when contacted today by The Associated Press, including saying whether the crosses still adorned the building’s facade.

He told the newspaper he planned to remove them at the end of April. Easter is Sunday.

In an April 8 letter, the foundation said religious displays on public buildings represent a violation of the First Amendment regardless of what time of year it is.

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