Cross on Livingston lawn may become federal case

One Essex County man's religious observance may become a legal battle.When Patrick Racaniello put a cross on his lawn earlier this year for Lent, the

LIVINGSTON - One Essex County man's religious observance may become a legal battle.

When Patrick Racaniello put a cross on his lawn earlier this year for Lent, the town of Livingston told him he was breaking the law because it was on the lawn near the curb. Only government signs are allowed in the 10 foot easement. The cross has since been moved back, but still sits on the lawn.

Racaniello thought the township wasn't being fair and took the issue to the Alliance Defense Fund, which specializes in Christian legal issues. The family's attorney says that asking Racaniello to move the cross violated his right to freedom of religion.

Livingston's town attorney, Sharon Weiner, says the Alliance Defense Fund is making a big deal out of nothing. Weiner says the town never had a problem with Racaniello putting up a cross, they just wanted it to be 10 feet from the curb.

The town of Livingston says it hopes to avoid a lawsuit, but worries the Alliance Defense Fund could be determined to make this a test case. The group says it will wait for the town's official reaction before deciding whether to move forward with litigation.

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