Officials in Stratton, Ohio, were forced to remove crosses that stood for decades on the village’s municipal building after receiving threatening letters from an atheist activist group.

While some local leaders are frustrated by the decision to take the Christian symbols down, the crosses could end up more visible than ever once they are placed in their new locations.

This Is Very Upsetting: Ohio Officials Remove Crosses That Hung for Decades After Atheists Threaten to Sue

Image source: WTOV-TV

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a church-state separatist organization, first wrote letters to local leaders last year telling them that a lawsuit would result if the crosses remained on government property, The Herald-Star reported.

Mayor John Abdalla at first refused to remove them, but after speaking with the village solicitor, he complied. That said, the mayor isn’t happy about his inevitable decision.

“I don’t like it — not one bit. Worse, I can’t find out who is [behind this],” he told The Herald-Star. “This is very upsetting. Those crosses have been there for years. The [Freedom From Religion Foundation] even sent pictures of the crosses.”

WTOV-TV, though, reported that the crosses may soon be given to local land owners, which will likely make them more prominently displayed than ever on private property in the village.

“That result will be that [the crosses] will be on display actually more visible to the public than they used to be,” said village solicitor Frank Bruzzese.

Abdalla believes a local individual or group complained to The Freedom From Religion Foundation, which is what likely sparked the national activist organization’s interest in the issue.

Cold temperatures have prevented one additional cross from being taken down from the town’s water tower, though the mayor said this will be done once temperatures warm up.

Abdalla said many people in the town are frustrated over the situation.

“It’s all over Facebook, and people are upset about it,” he added.

(H/T: The Herald-Star)

Featured image via WTOV-TV