Nursing home faces hearing on removing cross and altar

Share this content:

A Wisconsin nursing home is facing a hearing this Thursday as to whether it should remove a cross and altar from its multipurpose area. Countryside Home, based in Jefferson Country, has a chapel that becomes a multipurpose room when opened up with an adjoining community meeting room. The public often uses it.

A Jefferson County man, John Foust, raised the "separation of church and state" issue when he attended a mayoral forum in February at the nursing home and saw the cross and altar behind the candidates, according to the Associated Press.

"We have to balance the public's input with our legal obligations to the nursing home's residents," said Jefferson County Board Chairwoman Sharon Schmeling. "They have a constitutional right to the free exercise of their religion and since they are unable to leave the nursing home, we have a legal obligation to provide them with the means to practice their faith."

The home's trustees will not take any action on the issue at the hearing Thursday.