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Appeals court rules against Soledad cross

Featured in General News
Appeals court rules against Soledad cross
Sandy Huffaker

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit today ruled against the city of San Diego and the U.S. government in the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial case, meaning that unless the Obama administration appeals the case to the U.S. Supreme Court or full Ninth Circuit and seeks a stay, the memorial will have to be torn down.

The case, Jewish War Veterans v. City of San Diego, involves a 29-foot Latin cross that was erected in 1954 to honor U.S. veterans. The plaintiffs want the cross taken down because it stands on public land.

In the ruling, the court stated, “After examining the entirety of the Mount Soledad Memorial in context – having considered its history, its religious and non-religious uses, its sectarian and secular features, the history of war memorials and the dominance of the Cross – we conclude that the Memorial, presently configured and as a whole, primarily conveys a message of government endorsement of religion that violates the Establishment Clause. This result does not mean that the Memorial could not be modified to pass constitutional muster nor does it mean that no cross can be part of this veterans’ memorial. We take no position on those issues.”

The memorial’s Latin cross, the traditional symbol used in World War I memorials, is surrounded by six concentric walls with names and photos of fallen soldiers, including other symbols such as Stars of David, and is dedicated to the memory of World War I, World War II and Korean War veteran.

In 1989, an atheist sued the city of San Diego for the removal of the memorial. The ACLU represents the Jewish War Veterans, which is also suing for the removal of the memorial. Liberty Legal Institute filed an amicus brief in support of the memorial on behalf of The American Legion in the case.

American Legion National Commander Jimmie Foster called on the Justice Department to appeal the decision with the U.S. Supreme Court.

"I am asking Attorney General (Eric) Holder to appeal this regrettable decision to the Supreme Court," he said. "The sanctity of this cross is about the right to honor our nation's veterans in a manner which the overwhelming majority supports. The American Legion strongly believes the public has a right to protect its memorials.

"We intend to file an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in support of the appeal when it is made. Frankly, after having read the decision, I would say that it will take either the wisdom of King Solomon or the Supreme Court to resolve the issue."

For more on the ruling, click here.

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ranvet

January 9, 2011 - 11:29am

A small cross on a grave is one thing, but this cross is far too "in your face". Incidentally, the Treaty of Tripoly, written under President George Washington's administration at the end of his last term, signed by the next President John Adams, and ratified by the senate without objection, states "The Government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion".

David W. Chance

January 7, 2011 - 10:08pm

Folks, It doesn't matter what these people do to the Cross! It is not what saved us anyway. Christ did that. Look, I love and honor the Jewish people as the Bible tells me I should,even though they do not love and honor the people who first fought for and settled this country. We as a nation fought to save and free them from the people who hated them but, they are too selfish to return the love and honor to us. This cross is a symble of love for those who died for others. Leave it alone. God is watching.

kwhit190211

January 7, 2011 - 3:08am

I am sick & tired of the few dictating what the many want. Why don't we the people finally tell the few to p i s s off!! And, the hell with being political correct!! The last time I looked on the back of all US currency it said, IN GOD WE TRUST! SO, JUST WHEN ARE WE GOING TO GO BACK TO WHAT OUR FOUNDING FATHERS WANTED OF US. If you d i n k s don't believe in God, so be it. But, I tell you one thing, no matter how much you hate our maker when you find yourself in a hot LZ (landing zone) you will be praying to your maker to come out of it alive. As had many of the atheists did when I was around them in NAM during TET in 68.

tnfarmer11

January 6, 2011 - 7:29pm

The court is NOT the place to mediate over this entity as to the nature of its exsistence. Hundreds of thousands of OUR Boys lay in cross graves in Military graveyards all over this panet, yet there is NO controversy over that, you see the majority of the world's sane people recognizes the respect the deceased deserve. We Do NOT have the right to desecrate the memorial as some would have it done. This is not about the memory of our Boys who gave the ultimate sacrifice for us to enjoy Freedom within our borders and the inalienable rights put forth by our Constitution, Bill of Rights. This action derived by minds that don't want anything to do with our Patiotic Freedom of speech, & the pursuit of happiness by thrusting on others their unpatriotic agenda and ideas they should be ashamed of themselves . God ordained this country and the founding fathers knew it and practiced it in all phases of their lives. God bless America !!!

billinsandiego

January 6, 2011 - 2:34pm

I live only a few miles from the cross and am aware of the long history of controversy over its religious significance. While most of us veterans are Christians, we should remember that we did not serve to defend and preserve a particular faith, but the Constitution. The sad element of this whole affair is that veterans are being used as a red herring to preserve this Christian symbol. The cross, first erected in 1913, was never placed on Mt Soledad to be a veteran's memorial - it only became "a memorial to veterans" in late 1989 after the controversy to remove it occurred. It has been throughout its long history in San Diego a place of religious worship, famous for its Easter sunrise services. It is essentially in the same situation as the Mt. Davidson cross in San Francisco. That problem was resolved when the city sold the parcel of land and the cross to a non-profit group to memorialize the Armenian massacre. Read the court decision, options are available.

early robinson

January 5, 2011 - 4:30pm

There is a solution. I ask all that read this to write to the President and their Congressional Reps. "We the people and owners of all PUBLIC PROPERTY demand that the Mt Soledad Memorial ground and ground surrounding the memorial, where people congregate, and a connecting access road, be surveyed and parceled out of the Soledad Park and sold to a private entity under the condition that the private entity would preserve the Memorial, maintain the Memorial and keep open to the PUBLIC for all eternity the Memorial." Case Closed. The land would then be private and the Memorial would be preserved as it was meant to be from when it was erected. I am sure a Vets Org or a combination of them would be happy to take control. And they certianly would have the volunteers to help maintain it.

Sooners61

January 4, 2011 - 6:33pm

Go ahead and take it down we fought to keep the Mojave Desert cross up and the vandals cut it down anyway! What's wrong w/ taking 60 years almost to make a decision? Go ahead and ban crosses on headstones at all veterans cemeterys, hell ban flags on caskets let's make that illegal!!

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