Remember the lawsuit filed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation against the town of Whiteville, TN over a giant cross on the city’s water tower? The two sides have now agreed to a consent decree that is essentially a win for the FFRF, despite the mayor’s loud and defiant posturing over the issue.
When the FFRF first demanded the removal of the cross, Whiteville Mayor James Bellar responded with much bluster. He then had one arm of the cross removed, so it’s no longer a cross. The consent decree allows that to remain but is still a win for the FFRF:
1. Defendants are enjoined from installing decorated or undecorated stand-alone crosses on city hall property;
2. The Defendants agree not to replace the arm removed from the structure located on the Whiteville water tower, and not to install any other decorated or undecorated stand-alone cross on the water tower;
3. Defendant Bellar agrees not to install a decorated or undecorated stand-alone cross on the publicly owned portion of the sidewalk in front of his insurance agency located at 140 E Main Street in the Town of Whiteville, Tennessee;
4. Within 30 days of the entry of this Agreed Judgment and Order of Dismissal, the Town agrees to pay the Foundation attorney’s fees and other litigation expenses in the amount of $20,000.00. The parties will not apply for, nor will the Court award additional fees or expenses associated with this litigation.
Bellar had also sent a letter to the local attorney in the case calling the case “terroristic, cowardly and shameful” and saying that it caused “fear and terror” in the hearts of the town’s “older people.”