Calling it "offensive," the Michigan Association of Civil Rights Activists wants a Ludington monument in the shape of a cross banned from the view of Lake Michigan.

Citing the First Amendment promoting separation of church and state, a civil rights group says a memorial dedicated to Michigan pioneer Jaques Marquette promotes the Christian religion and should be torn down.

The Father Marquette Cross stands sentinel on a peninsula separating Pere Marquette Lake from Lake Michigan. Erected in 1975, the marker honors the Jaques Marquette, a French priest, and explorer with many contributions to Michigan's rich history. (Anytime you see "Marquette" or "Pere Marquette," it is named after him; "pere" being French for "father.") Pere Marquette was a founder of St. Ignace and an early settler of Sault Ste Marie. He died in Ludington in 1675, near where the cross marks the spot.

Now, the Michigan Association of Civil Rights Activists says the cross is a violation of their First Amendment rights and should be dismantled. reports anonymous complaint to the [Michigan Association of Civil Rights Activists] association from an individual using the Pere Marquette boat launch near the cross.

“The large white cross is visible from many areas around Pere Marquette Lake and the City of Ludington, but mostly from the public boat launch facility and parking area where the cross looms directly overhead,” the association states in the letter. “The complainant … finds the cross offensive and distracting. The complainant is forced to view the cross from virtually all points on the lake.”

The association’s letter warns that, if the township does not comply, legal action will be taken.

-Brooke Kansier,

What say you? Is this a Christian symbol, meant to proselytize or simply a burial marker honoring a Michigan trailblazer? Should the Father Marquette Cross remain on the Lake Michigan vista or be scrapped as offensive?

Tell us what you think about the complaint in the comments and learn more about the reminder in the video below.

Bonus Video: Singapore, the Town Lake Michigan Buried in Sand

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