County appeals atheist victory over cross on county seal

EASTON, Pa. (AP) — An eastern Pennsylvania county is appealing a federal judge's ruling that the image of a large Christian cross on the county's flag and seal is unconstitutional.

The Lehigh County Commissioners voted 6-3 Wednesday to appeal the ruling last month stemming from lawsuit filed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation and four of its local members. 

They objected to the cross's inclusion on the county flag and seal and sought an order for its removal.

The federal judge who ruled wrote he doesn't believe the cross violates the Constitution, but said he was bound by a 1971 decision to side with the Wisconsin-based atheist group.

The judge cited a county record showing the cross was added in 1944 to signify that "Christianity" and "God-fearing people" are the "foundation and backbone" of the county.