Louisiana’ giant cross pastor busted for drug possession
Andy C Harris, senior pastor at The Church of the Cross in Haughton, is in police custody after after he was found in possession of methamphetamine.
The pastor is best known for having inflicted America’s third largest cross on the local landscape in 2009.
According to this report, church officials confirmed that Harris had resigned after his arrest on Wednesday. Online references to the pastor on the church’s website and social media accounts have been deleted. He had been preaching at the church – an Assemblies of God congregation– since 1996.
Incidentally, there’s a lot of badly written garbage on the church’s website, including:
By the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost, being justified by grace through faith, man becomes an heir of God according to the hope of eternal lif.
Harris had been living in a 3,519-square-foot home, according to property records. It was at his home that Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office detectives allegedly discovered 3.4 grams of meth along with smoking and snorting paraphernalia.
It was under Harris’ administration that the 199-foot-tall cross was erected on church property. The cross – which in the United States is only shorter than one in Corpus Christi, Texas (210ft) and St. Augustine, Florida (208ft), was not without controversy.
As pastor of the then Central Assembly of God Church, Harris made an impassioned plea to the Bossier Parish Police Jury in October 2008, after the project was turned down by the Metropolitan Planning Commission, threatening to file a suit in District Court.
Harris said at the time:
The common man on the street is going to be looking at who’s for the cross and who’s not, and we all understand the ramifications.
The church was subsequently granted a zoning exemption from local authorities.
This report adds that Harris told deputy sheriffs about the meth during an interview regarding an unrelated investigation. Harris was not a suspect in that investigation, which had been ongoing for a few days, said Bill Davis, the department’s public information officer. Davis declined to say what the department had been investigating.
Harris allowed authorities to search his residence to retrieve the drugs. He was booked into the Bossier Maximum Security Facility with a bail of $5,000.
Harris’ childhood church was the Broadmoor Assembly of God in Shreveport, according to the now-deleted biography on the church’s website.
His parents were a prominent Bossier City builder and teacher, respectively, and he graduated from Bossier High School.
He completed a ministerial internship at his home church, the Broadmoor Assembly of God, and became an ordained minister in 1985. He and his wife have two children and one grandchild.
Hat tip: Matthew Carr