CHICAGO — For the 15th year in a row, the Thomas More Society and other co-sponsors have erected a 19-foot-high cross on Chicago’s Daley Plaza for Easter.

The display was put up on Holy Thursday, April 14, and a sunrise service to celebrate Christ’s resurrection was to take place at the site on Easter, April 17. The cross will remain on the plaza until April 20.

“The Easter celebration represents a constitutionally protected expression of religious faith by private citizens in a public forum,” said Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel of the Chicago-based Thomas More Society, a national public interest law firm that takes on religious freedom cases.

The other co-sponsors of the cross display are the Tapestry Fellowship, a nondenominational church in Chicago; City First Foundation, a nonprofit concerned with economic and social issues that serves low- and moderate-income neighborhoods; and private citizens Karl and Nancy Fritz.

In an April 14 statement, Brejcha said erecting a cross in a public space “is an appropriate response to the concerns raised 38 years ago by the late (Father) Richard John Neuhaus in his book, ‘The Naked Public Square.'”

Neuhaus “lamented that America’s public places had been stripped and denuded of any references to religion or religious practices, as if it were somehow ‘undemocratic’ or ‘incivil’ to celebrate Christian holidays out in the open where others could bear witness,” Brejcha said.

“This is truer than ever in today’s ‘woke’ environment,” he added. “People still have worries, fears and troubles, and Christians believe that Jesus offers the hope to help all of us to address and answer those concerns.”

Brejcha noted the cross display on Daley Plaza is privately funded and sponsored and has received no “government aid or endorsement.”

“It is clothed and armored with the full protection of the First Amendment of our U.S. Constitution,” he said. “Indeed, back in the late ’80s, (a) former chief judge of our federal District Court here in Chicago entered a permanent injunction against any discrimination against religion on Daley Plaza.”