March 20th, 2008 08:58 EST
Christian Leader to Challenge Past Prohibition on Displaying a Cross on the Public Sidewalk
Last year, Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney was told to remove a cross and stop a prayer vigil on a public sidewalk by a Library of Congress law enforcement official.
This year, the Presbyterian minister will risk arrest before removing the cross from the public square.
The Christian Defense Coalition was publicly celebrating The Stations of the Cross on Capitol Hill, during Holy Week in 2007, when he was threatened with arrest if he do remove the cross from a public sidewalk.
Rev. Mahoney was told by the law enforcement official he could not display the cross and pray because "it was violation of the separation of church and state."
Rev. Mahoney will be displaying the cross this Good Friday, March 21, at 12:00 noon on the public sidewalk in front of the Library of Congress on 1st Street SE.
He is being represented by The American Center for Law and Justice. ( View a copy of the letter sent to the Library of Congress and the Capitol Hill police.)
Rev. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, comments, "One of the great founding principles of this nation is that every American can publicly express their faith traditions free from governmental interference and harassment. Sadly, that was not the case last Holy Week when a law enforcement official threatened me with arrest for displaying a cross on a public sidewalk in our nation's capitol. The reason they gave was, 'it was a violation of the separation of church and state.'
"It is important as American citizens that we are not bullied or intimidated into surrounding our religious liberties and freedoms. So, I am going back to the exact same spot this Good Friday in prayer and displaying the exact same wooden cross. Even if it means arrest, it is a small price to pay to ensure our First Amendment rights are protected."
For more information or interviews call:
Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney at 540.538.4741
Kaitlin Clare at 540.538.4822