The pastor and some members of a Christian church in Brandon, Miss., say city officials won't grant them their permit request for a massive cross to be built on their property because the city is afraid the symbol might offend Muslims.
City officials, however, say they're hesitant to allow the cross construction because it would violate zoning rules.
Fox News reported that the First Baptist Church of Brandon wants to erect a 110-foot-tall cross on its land as part of a nonprofit group's project, "Crosses Across America," to line the nation's highways with the Christian and historical symbol.
The pastor said to Fox News that 92,000 cars travel the highway portion each day where the cross would rest.
"Those are people who need hope, who need inspiration," said Pastor Scott Thomas in the Fox News report. He also said that the so-dubbed "Cross at Brandon" would serve as a site for multidenominational events such as weddings and chorus performances.
Federal Aviation Administration and Mississippi Department of Transportation officials already have given their approval to the project. But city planning officials shot it down, 4-3, saying it's just too large.
"The tallest structure in the city is two stories," said Mayor Butch Lee in Fox News. "The cross is 11 stories," and city rules only allow that it could be 20 feet in height. The matter will head to the local aldermen for final decision, but the pastor isn't optimistic. He thinks another agenda is at play.
"They asked other questions that indicate to me that there's something else that concerns them," the pastor said in the Fox News report. "They asked, 'what if the Muslims, the Buddhists want to build a sign?'"
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