Tallest cross in English-speaking world can go ahead after lawsuit is ended

Plans to build the tallest cross in the English-speaking world in Corpus Christi, Texas, can move on after lawsuits around its construction came to an end.

Pastor Rick Milby of the Abundant Life Fellowship Church plans to build the 210 by 90 foot cross on land owned by the church on a main highway, Interstate 37.

Patrick Greene, an atheist, sued the pastor along with the local mayor and two council members. He criticised the cross as "tacky as hell" and said its construction violated the Texas Constitution, which prohibits a person of authority from giving preference to any religion or worship method.

He has now agreed to dismiss the case in a settlement that describes his lawsuit as "baseless" and "without merit."

When he launched the action, lawyer Jeremy Dys of law firm First Liberty said: "It's shocking to me that we've gotten to a point in society where we have atheists suing pastors for crosses erected on church property."

Greene abandoned the suit because of his wife's health. First Liberty then counter-sued Greene, who represented himself over the phone in court this week.

As part of the settlement, he pledged not to file baseless lawsuits over the freedom of exercise of religion.

Dys said: "We hope that Mr. Greene along with atheists everywhere that seem to file baseless lawsuits will now think twice about doing such a thing."

The Corpus Christi Cross will stand 210 feet high.(Corpus Christi Cross Project website)

Pastor Milby said: "I think people have kind of lost attention on the cross because of all the talk about this lawsuit itself, so I think this will get us back in the direction of building the cross again."

Construction has continued during the legal battles. The groundbreaking ceremony was in January.

Milby came up with the idea in 2013 when he traveled to Galveston in Texas and saw a massive white cross at Sagemount Church. "For the next several months God began speaking to my heart about erecting a mega cross in Corpus Christi," he said.

The largest cross in the world is in Madrid, Spain, at 495 feet tall.