Fate of shrine on 'A' Mountain

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - A group that fights for separation between government and religion is calling out the City of Tucson.

The group, Freedom from Religion Foundation, says a Catholic shrine must be taken down off 'A' Mountain.

The source of the controversy is a shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe showing the Virgin Mary, of course a very meaningful symbol for Catholics.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation says because the statue is in a public park, it implies government endorsement of Christianity.

The group, based out of Wisconsin, has asked the city to take it down or move it to private land.  The shrine was put there twenty years ago.  The story behind the shrine, a Pima County Jail inmate prayed for release, a new witness came forward and the prisoner was exonerated.  The former prisoner then set up the statue in gratitude.  Since then others have come to pray and leave other religious items too.

Tucson News Now spoke with a City of Tucson spokesperson who said the city has looked at the shrine and determined that it does not pose any public safety or health issues.  At this time there are no plans to remove it.

What comes next?  It's too early to tell, but the foundation says one possibility is filing a lawsuit.

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