Controversial cross removed from state park in Jackson County

GRASS LAKE, Mich. (WLNS) -- It's been the focus of controversy for several months, and now a Christian cross is no longer standing at a state park in Jackson County.


Walking through the Waterloo Recreation Area Wednesday morning, friends Robin Bosilovick and Moranda Moody say the cross on top of Sackrider Hill has been a big part of their lives.

 “I’ve got 10-15 photos of different people throughout the years up at the cross,” Bosilovick said.


But the cross used by local churches for outdoor Easter services has disappeared.


“It’s kind of a kick in the face to a lot of us in the community, because it's tradition, it's memories,” Moody said.


Earlier this year, the Michigan Association of Civil Rights Activists questioned why a religious symbol was installed on public land.


The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says while the churches were allowed to keep the cross here for decades, its placement is against state law.


On Monday, the owner of the cross, the Grass Lake Ministerial Association, agreed to take it down.


In a statement, the group says they want to follow the law, and members voted to remove it after meeting with DNR officials.


The group says they're still permitted to hold services at the park using a portable cross, and their faith goes beyond a mere symbol.


The cross was removed two days ago and there's already a movement to resurrect this Christian symbol.


Commissioner Carl Rice of the Jackson County Board of Commissioners says he's talked with other local officials about returning it.


“What we are going to do is contact our legislators. We're going to do what we can,” Rice said.


Rice, who's also a republican candidate for state house, says he doesn't believe the cross violates the law.


“This is the public's land, that land is owned by taxpayers,” Rice said. “It’s a comfort, it makes them feel good. For some people, it inspires them as they go about their walks. It's not a threat. It's not a harm.”


The women out walking say the community should have had a say.  


“I’m actually kind of offended, not because of the religious aspect of it, but because we didn't have a say in it, and it is our community,” Moody said.


“I guess we should replace it with a bigger cross,” Bosilovick said.

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