Evangelist Franklin Graham has said the "War on Christmas" is still raging on after the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) forced an Indiana town to remove a lit cross atop their Christmas tree.
Because the cross "is the preeminent symbol of Christianity, representing the instrument of the crucifixion of Jesus", the ACLU's Indiana chapter and Knightstown resident Joseph Tompkins argued that the Christian symbol on display in the Knightstown town square violated the First Amendment, according to The Indianapolis Star.
Thus, the ACLU and Tompkins slapped the Indiana town with a lawsuit seeking for removal of the cross, monetary damages and declaration that the cross display violates the First Amendment.
CBS affiliate WTTV reported that the documents say Tompkins "is forced to come into direct and unwelcome contact" with the cross on top of the tree as he drives through town, causing him "irreparable harm". Such harm can only be remedied by taking the cross down and paying Tompkins a hefty sum.
Shortly thereafter, Knightstown officials removed a cross, saying they did not believe they could win what was expected to be a costly lawsuit filed by the ACLU.
"It is with regret and sadness that the Knightstown Town Council has had the cross removed from the Christmas tree on the town square and is expected to approve a resolution at the next council meeting stating they will not return the cross to the tree," the council said in a Facebook post
In a Facebook post shared on Monday, Graham, the leader of Samaritan's Purse, dismissed the lawsuit as nothing more than a "war on Christmas" but said Christians shouldn't be surprised by it.
He wrote: "The Bible says Jesus Christ would be a 'stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense' to many. 'For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.' (1 Cor. 1:18)."
Graham continued: "I hope this town will stand strong and not let one man's objection override their celebration of the true meaning of Christmas. The ACLU wants to remove God from everything-our constitution doesn't require that. Jesus Christ came to earth to pay the penalty of sin for mankind on the cross. That's what CHRISTmas is all about!"
Many of Graham's followers apparently agreed with his post, as it was "liked" by over 58,000 people and shared by another 34,836 people.
Wrote one commenter: "Maybe we Christians should bring a class action lawsuit against the ACLU for trying to deny us Christians freedom of Religion and the emotional trauma they are causing us due to fear that we will not be able to worship our Lord and Savior as we feel called to do!"
Added another, "I live in this town. What this man has done has been used for the glory of God. Families have chosen to put crosses up in their yards. You can't drive down the street without seeing a cross being displayed. Last night a prayer vigil was held around out town Christmas tree with its cross shining brightly."
In 2014, Billy Graham's son penned an article for Decision Magazine contending that over "the last few decades" social culture in America has become increasingly intolerant toward Christianity, and the Christmas spirit.
"Unfortunately, the United States in the last few decades has witnessed increased hostility toward the sacred nature of Christmas, erupting into what has become a blatant war on Christmas," Graham wrote. "That's because at its root and core, the war on Christmas isn't really about Christmas - it's about the Son of God. The war on Christmas is a war on Christ and His followers. It's the hatred of our culture for the exclusive claims that Christ made."
"Stores, schools and communities across America continue to find new and intolerant reasons to remove any religious references to Christmas, stripping it of any holy or historical significance," Graham further explained. "Christian songs, prayers, and other spiritually vital connections to Lord Jesus Christ are deleted or diminished."