Summary Box: Atheist sues over state grant given to towering southern Ill. cross landmark

THE ISSUE: Chicago-area atheist Rob Sherman is suing administrators of southern Illinois' towering Bald Knob Cross of Peace over a $20,000 state grant the caretakers received to help pay for the site's ongoing restoration.

THE COMPLAINT: Sherman says the grant "blatantly" violates the U.S. Constitution's establishment clause used to argue a separation of church and state.

THE RESPONSE: An administrator of the cross says there's long-standing precedent for the fact the just being a sectarian group doesn't automatically exempt them from getting tax dollars.