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Federal judge blocks Evansville cross display

INDIANAPOLIS – A federal judge is blocking the planned display of about 30 6-foot-tall crosses on public land along the Ohio River in Evansville.

District Judge Sarah Evans Barker’s ruling issued Wednesday comes in a lawsuit that was filed after city officials gave a church permission to place the crosses decorated by Bible school children over a four-block section of the riverfront.

The display was to begin Sunday and continue for two weeks.

Barker wrote that the size and duration of the display would convey an endorsement of religion by the city in violation of the Constitution.

The city’s attorney argued that officials have never turned down a request to use the Riverwalk for purposes of free speech, including groups ranging from churches and a candlelight vigil for Trayvon Martin.