Thursday, July 31, 2008

San Diego Cross Can Stay on Public Land

Federal judge says cross is constitutional, as is, because "the primary effect is patriotic and nationalistic, not religious."

-- From "Federal judge says cross can remain on San Diego's Mt. Soledad" by by Jia-Rui Chong, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer, 7/31/08

The cross atop Mt. Soledad in San Diego has been the subject of controversy for years. Groups advocating a separation of church and state have sought the removal of the cross, saying it's unconstitutional to have a religious symbol on public land. A federal judge has ruled that the cross can remain.

ACLU says opponents may appeal the decision. The symbol is part of a federally owned war memorial

"The court finds the memorial at Mt. Soledad, including its Latin cross, communicates the primarily nonreligious messages of military service, death and sacrifice," wrote U.S. District Judge Larry Alan Burns in his decision filed Tuesday. "As such, despite its location on public land, the memorial is constitutional."

"If you want to put a cross on your front lawn . . . we will be the first to defend you," said David Blair-Loy, legal director of the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties. "When the government is sponsoring and endorsing the preeminent symbol of one religion, that's when we have a problem."

He said his side is discussing further legal action. An appeal to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is "clearly on the table," Blair-Loy said.

Blair-Loy said, "It is a 43-foot cross on one of the highest points in San Diego. "If the cross is not a religious symbol, I don't know what is."

To read the entire article, CLICK HERE.