Las Cruces’ Crosses Survive Church-State Litigation

Two men who sued the city of Las Cruces, N.M., and its school district for displaying three crosses on official government logos have decided to give up their battle.

Paul Weinbaum and Martin Boyd brought litigation charging that the logo “offends, intimidates and alienates them” because they are not Christian. Two federal district courts disagreed, and the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied a request to hear an appeal. (Weinbaum v. City of Las Cruces and Weinbaum v. Las Cruces Public Schools)

The district courts supported the city and school district, which took the position that the crosses are not religious symbols but merely a representation of the community’s history. Las Cruces means “the crosses” in Spanish.

Weinbaum and Boyd will not appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court because support for church-state separation among the justices is weak, and “it makes essentially no sense to take a church-state case to a court like that,” Boyd told the Las Cruces Sun-News.

“There’s a danger there,” Weinbaum told the newspaper. If the Supreme Court strikes their lawsuit down, then it “tells every city, every religious group that’s forcing their views of religion in schools – and in public schools – it would give them carte blanche to do it.”