Atheist Sues Santa Clara Over Cross At City Park

A local atheist, Andrew Defaria of Santa Clara, and the Freedom From Religion Foundation are suing the city of Santa Clara to force the removal of this large granite cross erected in 1953 on the grounds of a small public park adjacent to the intersection of De La Cruz Blvd. and Martin Avenue. Photographed April 21, 2016. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)

For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18

SANTA CLARA — A local atheist and a national group that advocates for the strict separation of church and state have sued the city to remove a large, white Christian cross at a public park where an 18th century Spanish Catholic mission once stood.

In a lawsuit filed Wednesday in the Ninth U.S. District Court, resident Andrew Defaria and the Freedom From Religion Foundation argue that the 14-foot granite cross is a “blatant religious symbol” that violates the First Amendment of the Constitution and California law.

“As a lifelong atheist and member of FFRF, and also a member of the San Jose Atheists, I believe firmly in the separation of church and state,” Defaria wrote Thursday in an email to this newspaper.


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