A local couple’s battle for religious expression got a morale boost Monday night from Villagers for Trump as a packed house at the Laurel Manor Recreation Center applauded their legal crusade to keep a little white cross on the front yard of their home in the Village of Tamarind Grove.
Wayne Anderson, 65, who along with his wife Bonnie have defied an order by The Villages to take down their cross, was met with loud cheers at the group’s monthly meeting as he vowed to keep up the fight.
“We will prevail,” Anderson declared.
The dispute began in 2019 when Community Development District 8 received an anonymous complaint about the tiny cross, which measures about 8 by 5 inches. The CDD 8 Board of Supervisors determined the cross violates CDD 8’s rule against “lawn ornaments” and have levied thousands of dollars in accumulated fines against the Andersons. The couple is challenging the rule and the fines in state court and are being represented pro bono by the Arago Law Firm, based out of Kissimmee. Part of the couple’s case involves a claim of selective enforcement, since similar white crosses adorn the lawns of many homes in CDD 8. The District counters that enforcement is driven by complaints, and if nobody objects to a lawn ornament, it can remain.
Ultimately, Anderson and his wife view their battle mainly as a fight for religious freedom, which they see as under unprecedented assault across the United States.
“Liberal organizations are trying to rewrite American history and write out the influence of Christianity in the forming of the country,” he said.
Sue Montgomery, 68, a newcomer to The Villages, doesn’t have a little white cross on her front lawn yet, but she wants in on the cause.
“Give me a hundred of them,” she said. “I’ll get them on lawns.”
As Villagers for Trump President David Gee sees it, the principles the Andersons are fighting for line up well with those of the club, which has shown no signs of abating in size or enthusiasm since its namesake’s departure from the White House.
“This organization is founded upon faith, and our mission statement states that our rights come from God, not government,” Gee said.