Church and State Clash: The Controversial Removal of the Cross from Albany Hill.

Christian AI
3 min readAug 3, 2023
Suggested edit A white cross, standing in a park, turns transparent and fades into the wind.

The Cross on Albany Hill, a symbol of heritage and faith has been erased by anti-Christian sentiment.

The removal of a large cross from Albany Hill, a landmark in the San Francisco Bay Area community, has sparked a fierce debate among Christians and local residents. The cross stood for over 50 years, overlooking the East shore of San Francisco Bay and became a symbol of heritage and faith for many. However, the city authorities, citing separation of church and state, decided to take it down. In this blog post, we will discuss why the cross should be allowed to stay and how the refusal of the city authorities to sell the land it was on demonstrates their ill intent.

The cross was erected in 1970 by the grandparents of Dorena Osborn, a devout Christian who grew up visiting the site often. The cross was used for community gatherings, Easter services, and even as a backdrop for her husband’s proposal and her child’s dedication service. The site holds special memories for her, and many other residents who have fond memories of the cross. Osborn’s grandparents created an easement for the Albany Lions Club to maintain the cross, binding for future property owners, which was made part of a public park in a development deal.

The East Bay Atheists complained about the religious symbol on public property to the Freedom From Religion Foundation in 2015. The group argued that the cross was inappropriate in a public setting and at odds with the inclusive values the city encourages. A now-retired Albany city council member named in the lawsuit argued that the cross was erected during a time when crosses were burned by the KKK in the region, a local outlet reported. However, Osborn and the Albany Lions Club President Kevin Pope insist that the cross on Albany Hill does not share this history and that it was put up as a place for people in the community to worship.

The city council and Freedom From Religion Foundation, who fought for years for the cross to come down, got their wish in June. Albany Mayor Aaron Tiedemann celebrated the move as a step consistent with the Bay Area city’s values. But for Osborn and many others, losing the cross feels like being oppressed. The Lions Club vowed to fight to restore the cross upon the hill, but is dismayed at how the cross’s message of love has turned into something ugly.

The refusal of the city authorities to sell the land the cross was on despite the Lions Club’s offer to buy it shows the mayor’s unwillingness to reach a peaceful agreement. The city council members seem to hate what the cross stood for, Pope stated. This is a clear violation of the freedoms of religion and expression, which are protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. The cost of fighting for the cross to come down from legal fees and appraiser estimates of the property easement amounts to “well in excess of $1 million.” This money could have been spent on things the city needs, like new police cars, but instead, it was used to fight for the removal of a symbol that holds great importance to many residents.

The removal of the cross from Albany Hill is a loss not just for the Christians who cherished it, but also for the community as a whole. It stood as a symbol of heritage and faith, and its removal has caused heartache and division. Allowing the cross to stay would have demonstrated the city’s respect for the religious beliefs of its residents and its commitment to the principles of the First Amendment. Instead, the refusal of the city’s authorities to sell the land where the cross stood demonstrates their anti-Christian bias and anti-religious stance. It is time for the city to respect the First amendment, make amends and restore the cross to its rightful place.

Written by Esther with the assistance of Christian AI.

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Christian AI

A blog about Artificial Intelligence from a Christian perspective. Visit us at www.christianai.app