Madisonville Cowboy Cross Controversy

By: Ashlea Sigman Email
By: Ashlea Sigman Email

Mike and Margie Stockman like to decorate their yard.

"If its Mother's Day, Father's day, Easter, at Christmas time we put the manger out front," said Mike.

"In the spring I'll put out spring flowers," said Margie.

"Flag day, we surround this area with flags. Every holiday we do something, so this is a main part of our decorating, this section of the yard," said Mike.

The Stockmans live next to Highway 21. Even though the area they like to decorate is inside their circle drive, the land is part of the state's right-of-way.

On Friday, TXDOT notified the Stockmans that they had to take down everything they put up on the right-of-way. Including a cowboy kneeling at a cross.

"He told me personally I have to take the cross down and I cannot put my nativity scene back up. I cannot put anything on his highway," said Mike.

"I said, you know, that piece of property belonged to Jesus longer than you've had it," said Mike.

The Stockmans have lived in their home for five years.

"We've been putting stuff out here for five years. The entire five years we've lived here," said Mike.

The pair says recently, the same TXDOT employee has been going out of his way, to keep them in line. They say he's even threatened to ticket them when part of a car in their driveway hung out over the right-of-way.

"We're in another territory when he tells me to take Jesus out of my front yard. I get a little offended," said Mike.

In the end, the couple says they will take the silhouette down.

"I will take it down Monday. But I'd like to be able to put it back up," said Mike.

Stockman is a municipal judge in another town. He says he hears this type of case, a class C misdemeanor, in his courtroom.

A fine for class C misdemeanor can be to $500.

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