Effingham Cross Mural

A photo depicting the mural featuring a cross in Effingham. (WAND Photo/Taken on Jan. 2 2020)

EFFINGHAM, Ill. (WAND) -  A local icon reflected in a mural in Effingham County was removed this week and now the city is responding.  

The mural was painted last year on the side of the Raney Street Overpass that separates the school from its football field. The mural included a cross to depict the Cross at the Crossroads that runs along the interstate near Effigham. 

The city said "the City does not have any artistic objection to the design or content of the mural. Nor does it take issue with the characterization of the Cross at the Crossroads as a symbol of the city and a strong representation of our town and culture. Most importantly, we agree that it represents private speech."

Many community members were in support of the mural. However, in January the Freedom From Religion Foundation urged the city to take it down to "avoid constitutional concerns and divisiveness among the Effingham community".

"The last thing the City Council wants is for any members of our community to feel excluded or treated as second-class citizens because they hold a minority belief.  It is in service to these principles that the City Council has altered the mural accordingly," the city said. 

The biggest difference remains, the Cross at the Crossroads owns the land the 198-foot-tall cross stands on.

To read the cities full response, click here.

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