Activist trucker targets Salvation’s Cross
An Alabama truck driver would like to see Rayville’s Salvation Cross come down.
Patrick Greene, 72, of Montgomery, Ala., said he’d like to see the 110-foot cross taken down as a tribute to his wife who died last January.
“We’re both atheists and she had been treated very badly by Christians throughout her life,” Greene said.
Greene said his own family had stayed away from their wedding because two of his wife’s gay friends had been in the wedding party.
Still, he said, he has no problem with Christianity itself. He simply feels public displays should be limited to private property.
“I live in Alabama, but I’m a truck driver and I drive back and forth on the I-20 all the time,” he said. “So I do see the cross.”
Greene said he planned to research Louisiana statutes regarding religious displays and talk with the people who oversee Salvation’s Cross.
“It’s just something I need to do as a tribute to my wife’s memory,” Greene said. “We were married on our first date and stayed together for 41 years until she passed away last January.”
Greene added it’s not the first time he’s butted heads with with inappropriate religious displays.
“Back in 1998 I was living in Ontario, California,” he said. “They put up a huge nativity display. I really enjoyed it. It really was beautiful, but one day I was looking at it and I saw a couple of city workers working on it.”
He asked the workers what they were doing and after learning they maintained the display and it was stored on city property when not set up, he was led to complain to the city council.
“I believe in following the law and the Constitution,” Greene said. “This is not something that should be done on public property by public employees.”
He eventually succeeded in working out a compromise in which private funds and volunteer labor were used to maintain and produce the nativity scenes.
Over the years, Greene, who is considered an atheist activist, has filed a number of suits in California and Texas.
Greene added he was uncertain what grounds he might have against Salvation’s Cross and that he was in the process of researching the installation and Louisiana laws. At the moment, he feels even though the cross is on private property, it may be covered by regulations banning memorials or signs taller than 25 feet from being erected.
“It’s really something that just came to me as I was looking at it recently,” Greene said.
He added that he would be happy to discuss his views with anyone who contacts him at firstname.lastname@example.org.