Religious Liberty Wins Big in Lawsuit Over Tallest Cross in America

Source: Conservative Review | May 24, 2016 | Nate Madden

It looks like opposing faith in the public square just got a little harder in the Lone Star State.

The city of Corpus Christi, Texas, is the home of actress Eva Longoria, the Whataburger fast food chain, and is once again on track to be the future home of the tallest cross in the Americas, thanks to a lawsuit settlement reached on Tuesday, after the plaintiff in the case conceded that the effort to block the cross’ construction was “baseless,” “vexatious,” and “without merit.”

The cross, which is meant to loom at least 210 feet over the coastal Texas city along I-37, was originally conceived by Pastor Rick Milby of Abundant Life Fellowship.

The lawsuit was filed against Milby by Patrick Greene of San Antonio against who, in addition to being a serial plaintiff in several other “separation of church and state” lawsuits, thinks the cross is “tacky as hell.” As a part of Tuesday’s court-approved settlement, he agreed to a “covenant not to sue,” which means he will stop filing merit-less lawsuits over rights guaranteed in the First Amendment or face stiff legal consequences.

The case sends the message that lawsuits about the free exercise of religion actually have to require a little bit of standing, explained Jeremy Dys, Senior Counsel at Texas-based First Liberty Institute, whose organization represented Milby, during a phone interview after the decision was announced.


This is far from Greene’s first lawsuit of the sort. In December 2013, he filed a lawsuit against the city of Athens, Texas, in the hopes having a courthouse nativity removed from public view and has also sued Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro for participating in the National Day of Prayer while in his capacity as Mayor of San Antonio.

“Mr. Greene has a track record of using baseless lawsuits to harass people over any expression of faith he doesn’t like. In this case, he sued a pastor over a cross on church property that hasn’t even been built yet,” reads an earlier statement about the case from Dys. “Since Mr. Greene is using the legal system to attack people of faith, we feel the appropriate response is to use the law to stop him.”

Greene briefly converted to Christianity in 2012 before returning to atheism, saying that he “got all caught up in the excitement.”

The cost of the cross’ construction should total $1 million, according to a report at the Houston Chronicle, over $100,000 had already been raised when the building project officially kicked off a few months ago.

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