There has been a radical change in America over the past few years and perhaps the Devaney cross in many ways symbolizes this transformation.
When 19-year-old Anthony Devaney died after being hit by a car while crossing a street in Lake Elsinore, California in May 2012, his grieving mother AnnMarie Devaney wanted to mark the spot by putting up a cross. She and her family erected the cross near where Anthony died in December of the same year.
But according to the Riverside Press-Enterprise (RPE), when the Washington D.C.-based, American Humanist Association found out about the cross, they immediately sent the family a demand letter ordering the cross removed because it was on government property — a city right-of-way.
Intimidated by the threat of legal action, on March 6, 2014, the grieving mother and her family sadly pulled down the cross.
In an interview with RPE, AnnMarie said:
“It’s so petty and sad that they have to complain over removing a cross. It’s his personal preference that he was a Christian. What’s wrong with putting up a cross.”
Anthony’s sister Mercedes added:
“It’s upsetting, but I am not going to be upset. At the end of the day, there’s nothing that could be worse than what I’ve already been through.”
When others in the community heard about what was happening they were enraged. While AnnMarie was pulling down the family cross, others were putting up new ones. Instead of one there are now six crosses at the spot.
The humanist society had just won a court case against the City of Lake Elsinore stopping a war memorial from being built in front of Diamond stadium. The memorial would have pictured a soldier kneeling before religious symbols including crosses and Stars of David.
After that heady victory, threatening a grieving mother would be a walk in the park.
Welcome to the brave new America, without religion.