ANN ARBOR, MI – The City of Frankenmuth, Michigan formally rejected a demand by Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) to remove a 55 foot steel American Bicentennial Cross on city-owned land. In a July letter, AU claimed the Cross on public land unlawfully endorses and promotes Christianity, and asked Frankenmuth to remove the cross or face “a significant risk of litigation.”
The Thomas More Law Center, a national non-profit public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, was asked by Frankenmuth officials to defend their Cross.
Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Law Center, in a letter on Friday, responded on behalf of the City, “The cross was raised up by a grateful community. And this community will fight to keep it.”
“The purpose of the cross was not to promote, endorse or coerce anyone to convert to Christianity,” Thompson wrote.
The Cross was erected as a part of Frankenmuth’s celebrations of the American Revolution Bicentennial 1776-1976. It was constructed and erected with private funds raised by the Frankenmuth Area Bicentennial Commission. The Cross was erected not only to memorialize the sacrifices made by our Founding Fathers in 1776, but also to memorialize Frankenmuth’s unique history and the sacrifices made by the original 15 settlers who arrived in the Frankenmuth area in 1845. These settlers left their homes in the province of Middle Franconia, Bavaria to establish a religious community for the conversion of the Chippewa Indians who lived in the area.