The Rev. Franklin Graham Saturday slammed the Freedom From Religion Foundation for "trying to intimidate" a small central Kentucky city into removing a cross that has stood atop its water tower for decades.
The foundation, based in Madison, Wis., "is at it again," Graham said on Facebook. "Reaching in from another state, they're trying to intimidate the city of Wilmore, Ky., into taking down a cross that has stood on top of their water tower for years."
Settled by Revolutionary War soldiers in 1770, Wilmore is about 20 miles southwest of Lexington.
The water tower sits on the campus of Asbury University, a private Christian college that mounted the cross on its top years before transferring the tower to the city in October 1976, The Central Kentucky News reports.
The transfer required that the cross remain on the tower, Mayor Harold Rainwater told the News. The university pays all electricity and maintenance costs, he said.
Rainwater, who is also an Asbury associate professor, said that he strongly opposed removing the cross.
"There’s a groundswell of support to keep (the cross) and I’m certainly going to fight to keep it with everything I’ve got," he told the News. "I think it’s symbolic of our town.
"I 100-percent support keeping it there," he added. "We won’t take it down unless we’re forced to take it down."