Brandon, Mississippi’s city officials don’t want a the First Baptist Church of Brandon to put a giant cross on the church’s property because it violates the city’s zoning ordinance, according to Fox News on Wednesday. However, the church’s pastor, Pastor Scott Thomas, believes there is another reason that the city officials are denying the church’s petition to have a 110-foot tall cross on its property which is located along well-traveled Interstate 20 – because he thinks the city officials are afraid the cross may offend Muslims.
According to Pastor Scott, there are some-92,000 vehicles that travel along the Insterstate 20 corridor every day, and he says that those are people who need hope and inspiration. Additionally, Scott asserts that the “Cross at Brandon” could be used for multi-denominational gatherings beyond his Baptist Church’s sector which could include such events as outdoor weddings and choral performances.
Even though the Federal Aviation Administration and the Mississippi Department of Transportation approved the erection of the cross on the church’s property, the Brandon planning commission squelched the plan with a 4-3 vote against it. Brandon’s Mayor Butch Lee said the cross fall under the category of an auxiliary structure, and under the law, the cross can only be 20 feet high. He went on to say that the tallest structure in the city is two stories and the cross is 11 stories.
Aside from the law, Pastor Scott believes there are other concerns that halting the cross’ plan. He said that he was asked what would happen if Muslims and Buddhists want to build a sign in the future. However, the mayor insists that the decision to not approve of the cross has nothing to do with Muslims or non-Christians. He also said that he prays that the board and Pastor Scott will reach of compromise. The ultimate vote will be taken on Sept. 16.
The instillation of the cross would be part of a national project sponsored by “Crosses Across America” which is a non-profit organization that builds giant crosses along America’s highways.