By Todd Starnes, Fox News Radio
It’s a battle of Christians versus Christians in Brandon, Miss. where city officials oppose efforts by a prominent church to erect a giant cross because it violates a zoning ordinance. But the pastor of the church said elected officials are also afraid the cross might offend Muslims.
The First Baptist Church of Brandon petitioned the city to install a 110-foot tall cross on its property alongside Interstate 20. The project is sponsored by “Crosses Across America,” a non-profit group that builds giant crosses along the nation’s highways.
“They were led by the Holy Spirit to seek a location in Mississippi,” Pastor Scott Thomas told Fox News. “92,000 cars a day travel along the Interstate 20 corridor. Those are people who need hope, who need inspiration.”
The pastor also said the “Cross at Brandon” would also be used for multi-denominational gatherings, choral performances and outdoor weddings.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the Mississippi Department of Transportation signed off on the plan, but the church hit a snag when they took their request before the city’s planning commission. They voted 4-3 to not recommend construction.
Mayor Butch Lee told Fox News the cross is considered an auxiliary structure and under the law the cross can only be 20 feet high.
“The tallest structure in the city is two stories,” the mayor said. “The cross is 11 stories.”
The final decision on the cross rests with the board of alderman and Pastor Thomas said the outlook is bleak. He said he suspects there’s more to their objections than just the size of the cross.