Maryland Town Residents Protest Plans for Cross on Interfaith Center

Some residents of Columbia are objecting to plans by one of the town's six interfaith centers to place a 16-foot cross on the exterior of a new building.

The cross would be visible at the Wilde Lake Interfaith Center, but some longtime residents say the cross wouldn't fit with Columbia's harmonious and inclusive character.

The interfaith center is home to both St. John United Church and St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church. The new building will give the St. John United congregation more room. The Rev. R. Whitfield Bass says no one should be offended by the cross, which he calls a "symbol of freedom."

The congregation originally planned to erect a 27-foot cross with backlighting. The lighting plan was dropped and the size was reduced after some residents objected.