Brian Spencer on the Bayview Park Cross

Faith always has been an integral part of Pensacola. So, too, has been our institution of law. Those two pillars live alongside each other, and at times our freedom of religion and the rule of law will find themselves in conflict.

The Bayview Cross finds itself in one of those times, and compromise can be hard to reach when two of our most sacred institutions are at odds. That is clear from the federal judges themselves, who expressed their own reluctance while citing being bound by precedent. This is not about any single religion. I have heard from those who stand in support of the Cross. And I have heard from those who stand for a stark contrast between faith and government.

The court has spoken. (And, in fact, it cries out for better jurisprudence in these cases.) But so, too, have the people of Pensacola who recognize the historical and cultural importance of the Bayview Cross. And that is why we should pursue the option of placing that small bit of land with a private entity in exchange for ensuring that it remains open to the public in perpetuity, and is maintained in manner that both satisfies the letter of the law as well as the spirit of those who hold our local icons in such regard. 

Common ground rarely satisfies everyone. But it requires leadership to attain, stewardship to maintain, and good faith by those on all sides so that we can come to a resolution. Our local heritage deserves that, as do the people of Pensacola.

News releasePhil Nickinson