High Court Rejects Edmond Cross Plaintiff Celebrates; Mayor Displeased

Oklahoman Published: May 14, 1996

"I think as a body, our opinion would be that the cross is a part of the history of Edmond. It's a part of our heritage. And as such, it should be on there," Burrough said.

"We don't mix church and state, but we are supportive. We think this nation was built with God as a part of it. And we think it is just as wrong to try to take it out because of the desires of some people."

But officials of an area Jewish organization and an interfaith alliance supported the decision, although their groups were not directly involved in the case.

"That (separation of church and state) protects all of us," said Edie Roodman, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Oklahoma City. "Our Founding Fathers figured that out a long time ago."

Harley Venters, a north Oklahoma City resident and head of the Interfaith Alliance of Oklahoma, said not allowing a cross in a city seal is a matter of consideration of others' views.

"In other words, we know that the vast majority are Christians, but we think consideration of those who are not .... requires that the majority not offend unnecessarily those who are of a different persuasion," Venters said.

The Rev. Jim Hylton, pastor of MetroChurch of Edmond, urged people to pray for "our leaders and for the Supreme Court in the ability to interpret such things in light of the purpose of the Founding Fathers of the nation and the views held by them."

Symbols and writings in the nation's Capitol "suggest a nation that was born out of a Christian culture," he said.

Edmond's court case has been closely watched by other area communities.

The Village and Del City, for example, have religious symbols on their seals. Some believe a shield divider on Oklahoma City's seal also could be interpreted as a cross, although city officials deny it.

City spokeswoman Karen Farney maintains that Oklahoma City's seal does not violate the separation of church and state.

"These are just to divide the shield into quadrants which show symbols of Oklahoma City's heritage. The lines do not form a cross - they are strictly a design element."

The Village seal features a church with a cross on its steeple.

Bruce Stone, The Village city manager, said the council has been following the case to see what the outcome would be. "It will be a matter for the council to sit down and discuss what they want to do," he said.

Del City's seal has a quadrant with an open book with a cross at the top. City Manager Stan Greil said the city attorney and council also will have to discuss how the decision will affect their seal.

"I'm not ashamed to say our community was founded for a number of reasons, including some strong religious ethics," he said. The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = This story was written from reports by staff writers Susan Parrott, Pat Gilliland, Jack Money and Lisa Beckloff.

Archive ID: 648390


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