EVANSVILLE, Ind. — The 6-foot tall crosses barred by a federal judge from being displayed on Evansville’s public riverfront have been lined up in a parking lot along a busy street.
Organizers began looking for alternate sites for the 31 decorated crosses after the judge blocked them from going up along the Ohio River, saying it would be an unconstitutional endorsement of religion by the city. They were placed Wednesday in the parking lot of the former Whirlpool refrigerator factory along U.S. 41, near Evansville Regional Airport, the Evansville Courier & Press reported.
“It’s a temporary resting place,” said Roger Lehman, a member of West Side Christian Church.
An estimated 1,600 supporters of the cross display attended an Aug. 4 rally near the riverfront site, a few days after U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker’s ruling was issued. Several businesses have offered to host the display of plastic crosses, which were decorated by various churches.
Attorney Chris Wischer, who represents a consortium of 10 churches organizing the display, said the group was still deciding whether to either appeal the decision or to submit a revised request to city officials.
The lawsuit was filed by the ACLU of Indiana after Evansville’s Board of Public Works in June approved the cross display for two weeks along four blocks of the city-owned riverfront walkway.
Lehman said the cross display was aimed at prompting people who see it to examine their spiritual lives. “Our plan is to display them at some of the other businesses that offered to host them,” Lehman said. “We want people to see them and hopefully feel a tug on their heart that God is speaking to them.”