To show support for a Tennessee town facing legal action against a cross atop its water tower, area residents carried a 12-foot cross nine miles to Whiteville, where it was presented to city representatives during a rally that drew about 350 people.

The effort was organized by Jimmy Sain, a member of First Baptist Church in Bolivar, Tenn., where the Jan. 21 walk originated.

The controversy, which has drawn local and national attention to the town of 3,000, has brought Whiteville residents together, several residents told the Baptist & Reflector newsjournal of the Tennessee Baptist Convention.

Many homes and businesses in Whiteville bear crosses to show support for the cross on the water tower.

A federal lawsuit against Whiteville is being pressed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a nonprofit group based in Wisconsin which represented a complainant that the town is displaying “a patently religious symbol such as a Christian cross on public property,” according to an article on the foundation’s website.

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