The following comes from an April 22 Mercury News article by Joe Rodriguez:

SANTA CLARA — A local atheist and a national group that advocates for the strict separation of church and state have sued the city to remove a large, white Christian cross at a public park where an 18th century Spanish Catholic mission once stood.

In a lawsuit filed Wednesday, resident Andrew Defaria and the Freedom From Religion Foundation argue that the 14-foot granite cross is a “blatant religious symbol” that violates the First Amendment of the Constitution and California law.

The cross stands at Memorial Cross Park, a half-acre plot of grass and Spanish colonial landscaping, at the busy intersection of Martin Avenue and De La Cruz Boulevard. A local Lions Club donated the cross in 1953 to mark the site of Santa Clara’s second Franciscan mission, which stood there from 1777 to 1784.

Santa Clara Lions Club president Ginger Stasi, who was not a member at the time, said the cross is a “historic marker” and should stay.

“No one is being forced on their knees to pray there,” she said. “Honestly, there are so many other problems in the world that need fixing.”