May 16, 2016

Gaetz issues debate challenge over Bayview Cross


Rep. Matt Gaetz’s congressional campaign today announced that the conservative Republican has challenged one of his Democratic opponents, Amanda Kondrat’yev, to debate whether the Bayview Park cross should be allowed to remain on public land. Kondrat’yev was one of four Pensacola citizens to have recently challenged the cross in federal court.

“The Bayview Park Cross has been an important part of the Pensacola community for over 50 years,” Gaetz said in a Monday afternoon news release. “In Northwest Florida, we have a deep and abiding faith in God, and we enjoy exercising our right to religious freedom guaranteed by the Constitution. Now, our religious liberty is under attack by far-left liberals like Amanda Kondrat’yev, who filed a lawsuit to remove the Cross at Bayview Park. I believe this lawsuit is outrageous and challenge Mrs. Kondrat’yev to a debate in front of the Bayview Park Cross.

“Religious freedom is one our most basic rights as Americans. I hope Mrs. Kondrat’yev will accept my challenge and join me in a Lincoln-Douglas-style debate in front of the Bayview Park Cross to provide the public with a full and meaningful discussion of this important issue.”

Kondrat’yev on Monday said she would accept Gaetz’s challenge.

“Absolutely,” Kondrat’yev said. “The way I see it, having a cross in a park that’s supposed to be for everybody is obviously showing preference to one religion over another. If it were a satanic symbol or a Muslim symbol, they would be livid …. The cross towers above the trees and it’s a clear violation of our constitutional rights. My grandfather and father are both U.S. military veterans and this is not what they fought for at all.”

A date for the debate has not been scheduled.

Originally posted by Will Isern on Pensacola News Journal