The Norman Transcript


November 12, 2012

Cross debate rises before council again



Stasiak also acknowledged that he hadn’t driven by and looked at that particular intersection.

James Prince, chair of the Gaines Creek Association of Free Will Baptist executive board, was informed that the silhouette depicting a military man kneeling in what appeared to be prayer was still in place. He also acknowledged at that time that he hadn’t checked all of the silhouettes.

He said the Gaines Creek Association’s original resolution had been based on a report from a Tulsa television station.

The situation arose after a total of nine of the figures were among 125 different black metal silhouettes given as a gift to the city of McAlester to depict the area’s tradition and culture.

Stasiak had ordered nine of the figures removed after he said he received a complaint that some silhouettes incorporated a cross and allegations that made it unconstitutional.

Following those actions, the Gaines Creek Association of Free Will Baptist passed its resolution.

The resolution passed by the Gaines Creek Association of Free Will Baptist on Aug. 4 states the following: “Be it resolved that the Gaines Creek Association of Free Will Baptist stand opposed to the removal of figurines depicting U.S. military kneeling in silent prayer from the Third Street intersection in McAlester.”

Meanwhile, as stated on the agenda for Tuesday night’s city council meeting, the agenda item calls for “discussion and possible action on a resolution put forward by the Gaines Creek Association of Free Will Baptist opposing the removal of figures depicting U.S. military kneeling in silent prayer from the Third Street intersection and asking the city of McAlester to reverse the decision and reinstall the silhouette.”

Previous discussions have ranged far beyond that single figurine at the Third Street intersection, to touch on the nine figurines containing crosses or other Christian imagery that were removed by the city earlier this year.

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