An atheist group has forced New Mexico Junior College to remove Christian crosses it had displayed on the school's campus, the Christian Post reported Tuesday.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation, the nation's largest atheist legal group, sent a letter to the school Jan. 18, calling for them to remove "numerous crosses" that were visible to the public.
The letter said that NMJC, located in Hobbs, N.M., was violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Legal Fellow Christopher Line, who penned the note, enclosed photos of the crosses that were "in public spaces" and demanded their "immediate" removal.
“A majority of federal courts have held displays of Latin crosses on public property to be an unconstitutional endorsement of religion,” Line wrote. “Furthermore, federal courts have upheld restrictions on the display of religious iconography in government offices and buildings because such restrictions exist to avoid an Establishment Clause violation.”
"We understand that there is a cross in the main reception area of the Ben Alexander Student Center that sits on the counter and faces the public," the FFRF letter said. "We also understand that several offices, including the cashier's office, contain crosses that are easily visible to anyone visiting or passing by these offices."
What did the school say about it?
School spokeswoman Susan Fine said in a statement to TheBlaze: "As an institution of higher education and knowledge, NMJC embraces and celebrates diversity of people and ideas. At the same time, as a public institution NMJC recognizes an obligation to remain politically neutral and to respect the division between church and state.
"NMJC supports faculty, staff, and students who wish to have articles of faith and belief within their personal areas and workspaces on campus. It is expected that these items are personal in nature, placed for private viewing, and not placed in public areas," the statement read.
In a news release posted on the group's website on Friday, FFRF said Sharp notified them that "the crosses have come down."
“The school has done the right thing to ensure that all students, faculty and staff feel welcome,” FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor said. “Religious iconography is divisive and has no place in the space of public education.”