LIVINGSTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Whose cross will it be to bear?
As you turn onto Sterling Drive in Livingston it’s the first thing you see: a large cross on Patrick Racaniello’s front lawn.
The township told Racaniello a cross he attached to a tree in his yard during Lent violated an ordinance prohibiting residents from putting up anything within 10 feet of a right of way designed to attract attention.
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So, he took it down and erected a larger cross about 10 feet from the curb and contacted the Alliance Defense Fund, a coalition of Christian lawyers.
The group may take legal action against the township.
The town said they are sensitive to First Amendment rights. Officials say the cross is a distraction to drivers and are simply protecting the public good.
The battle has sparked a debate amongst Racaniello’s neighbors.
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“You’re going to see that and not the kids so you’re going to hit somebody,” one man said.
“”I guess it’s his property, he could do whatever he wants on his property, as long as it’s within the mandates of the town,” another man argued.
A federal land-use law — enacted in 2000 to provide stronger protection for religious freedom — may come in to play in this controversy.
Generally, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act prevents government entities from creating undue burdens on religious exercise and expression.
Whose side are you on? Let us know below…