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News & Politics News & Politics

Atheists Fight With Grieving Mom Over Roadside Crosses

Posted by on Mar. 9, 2014 at 9:19 PM
  • 49 Replies

A woman whose son died in a traffic accident was forced to remove the crosses from his roadside memorial in Southern California after local atheists complained that the symbols violated the constitution.

The American Humanist Association of Riverside County, an atheist group, contended that crosses were a “serious constitutional violation” in a letter to the local city council, reports NBC4. The council conceded that the large, handmade plywood crosses violated the separation of church and state.

"The city's selective enforcement of its signage ordinance and its display of the Christian cross on government property violates the state and federal Constitutions, and must therefore be removed immediately," the letter states. The crosses would have to be removed by mid-March, the council told the resident who complained.

Anthony Devaney was killed at the age of 19 by a teen driving an SUV as he was crossing the street near a freeway.

His mother, Ann Marie Devaney, tearfully removed the crosses white crosses she had placed near the spot where he was struck after the decision came Thursday.

"It's like I'm losing my son again, pretty much," Devaney said. "It hurts when you lose a child."

"It's so petty and sad that they have to complain over removing a cross," she said. "It's his personal preference that he was Christian. What's wrong with having a cross up?"

But the dispute may not have come to an end. Immediately after she removed them, another group came and replaced the crosses with six more.

"It just really got to me," said Emily Johnson. "I have kids. I just can't believe how insensitive people are."

The mother of the driver who struck Devaney said she thinks the crosses should stay.

"That's their memorial, that's where they go to grieve," said Laurie Howanec.

But the atheist group maintains that the crosses cannot legally be allowed to stay up on city property. 

“It should be taken down now because they’ve had it up for a long time and ever since it was put up, it really has been unconstitutional,” said Monica Miller, an attorney at the American Humanist Association’s Washington, D.C., headquarters.

http://www.opposingviews.com/i/religion/atheists-fight-grieving-mom-over-roadside-crosses

My question is what about her right to free speech? 

I  bet  you  make  your  daddy  proud

by on Mar. 9, 2014 at 9:19 PM
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Replies (1-10):
SallyMJ
by Ruby Member on Mar. 9, 2014 at 9:53 PM
8 moms liked this

I'm guessing the atheist evangelization efforts are way down in Riverside County.

You don't harass a mom who  had to bury her son, and say the way she is grieving offends your sensibilities. What a bunch of ba$tard$.

mcdun
by Humboldt California on Mar. 9, 2014 at 9:56 PM
3 moms liked this

I can think of about a dozen things they could be doing to better life in California for all people instead they are bullying a woman into removing a cross. SMH 

Quoting SallyMJ:

I'm guessing the atheist evangelization efforts are way down in Riverside County.

You don't harass a mom who  had to bury her son, and say the way she is grieving is offending your sensibilities. What a bunch of ba$tard$.


I  bet  you  make  your  daddy  proud

GirlWithANikon
by Member on Mar. 9, 2014 at 10:00 PM
9 moms liked this

I do not believe in god but I think to be so offended by something not targeted to you proves they are not secure in their choice or that their lack of belief consumes them and they are nothing besides the people who fight for non believers. They have to attack all acts of belief to feel they have a cause, a ground to stand on. Though we share the same lack of belief in Christianity, those people were WRONG and I pity them.

(I also feel this way about religious people attacking the non. It to me is proof your faith is not strong enough and someone may prove it wrong)

SallyMJ
by Ruby Member on Mar. 9, 2014 at 10:04 PM
4 moms liked this

Exactly - they should be more like you. 

Thanks for your comment. You seem like you have your own mind, but you also have a heart. 

blowing kisses

Quoting GirlWithANikon:

I do not believe in god but I think to be so offended by something not targeted to you proves they are not secure in their choice or that their lack of belief consumes them and they are nothing besides the people who fight for non believers. They have to attack all acts of belief to feel they have a cause, a ground to stand on. Though we share the same lack of belief in Christianity, those people were WRONG and I pity them.

(I also feel this way about religious people attacking the non. It to me is proof your faith is not strong enough and someone may prove it wrong)


4kidz916
by Gold Member on Mar. 9, 2014 at 10:08 PM
2 moms liked this

That group sounds really heartless.  I hope they never have to deal with the loss of a child. 

Farmlady09
by Silver Member on Mar. 9, 2014 at 10:35 PM
3 moms liked this

If that cross were placed by me and they forced me to remove it they would likely figure out new reasons for hating crosses ... starting with the fact that it's hard to hobble into an ER with one stuck up their anal orifice.

I'd rather explain to a judge how the cross got in such a strange place than put up with defending myself against some insecure little twit that claims there is no god but is apparently haunted by any sign that other people believe differently.

GirlWithANikon, I wish I could claim the same high road you have. I used to ... but I'm SO fed up with this crud now. I don't want to be nice. I don't want to be kind. People like the one in the OP are a consistent pain in the butt and I'd return that favor in a very real way if they stuck their noses into the death of someone I loved and was grieving.

nixore
by myk elskling on Mar. 10, 2014 at 9:24 AM
6 moms liked this

I'm an atheist, and I'm against religious symbols on public, government owned property.  That said, those crosses I've seen on the side of the road where people have been killed would be the LAST thing I would go after removing.  Idk, I see those crosses less as a symbol of the religion and more as just memorial markers.  It's honestly never occurred to me that the cross there means the victim who died was Christian.  They only made me think of the victim themselves and the tragedy that happened in that spot.

If the group of atheists that complained are that set on being thorough, even at the expense of a greiving mother that had to bury her child, they should have offered to replace the cross with a different (and more sturdy, still dignified) marker.  I can't say that people should 100% have the right to go against the law in this circumstance, but you don't just take away the marker completely.  That's going beyond making sure the law is followed.  It crushed an already crushed woman. 

IhartU
by Bronze Member on Mar. 10, 2014 at 9:51 AM

 I feel for the mother but her grief cannot trump the Constitution.

 There are cemeteries around here that only allow headstones with religious symbols- you can't be buried there unless it has one. There are RULES for memorials in that place that people don't have an issue following, so why is it so different when it comes to road-side memorials on government property? If it's a violation of the constitution, then don't put one there or put up something non-religious- it's THAT easy.

4kidz916
by Gold Member on Mar. 10, 2014 at 10:08 AM

As a Christian, I can really appreciate your response.  I wish more people were as open minded about it as you are.  

Quoting nixore:

I'm an atheist, and I'm against religious symbols on public, government owned property.  That said, those crosses I've seen on the side of the road where people have been killed would be the LAST thing I would go after removing.  Idk, I see those crosses less as a symbol of the religion and more as just memorial markers.  It's honestly never occurred to me that the cross there means the victim who died was Christian.  They only made me think of the victim themselves and the tragedy that happened in that spot.If the group of atheists that complained are that set on being thorough, even at the expense of a greiving mother that had to bury her child, they should have offered to replace the cross with a different (and more sturdy, still dignified) marker.  I can't say that people should 100% have the right to go against the law in this circumstance, but you don't just take away the marker completely.  That's going beyond making sure the law is followed.  It crushed an already crushed woman. 


Ziva65
by Bronze Member on Mar. 10, 2014 at 10:48 AM

I find that ironic. I have an athiest neighbor who has a cross in her front yard- to protest war. It's been there for years.

I'm a conservative Christian, and we are friends- she's not doing it to be spiteful, I just choose not to take offense... and they are all over.

I do feel bad for this mom though :( I find that action spiteful on behalf of those against her.

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