Saturday, April 09, 2016

Fed. Judge Strips Cross from LA County Citizens

U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder sided with the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California by ruling that the elected supervisors of Los Angeles County violated the U.S. Constitution by authorizing an accurate depiction of the San Gabriel Mission for the county seal — the historic mission has a cross on top.
"The court failed to see that the board corrected the inaccurate depiction of the San Gabriel Mission on the seal with an architecturally accurate version that featured a small cross - which of course the mission has.  As any California fourth-grade student knows, the San Gabriel Mission is an important icon to the region and the birthplace of Los Angeles County."
-- Michael Antonovich, County Supervisor
For background, read Cross Restored to LA County Seal Despite Atheists' Threats as well as Atheists Inundated by Jesus' Cross Symbols in California

Also read Atheists Strip Catholic Univ. with Cross from Ohio Town Identity

And read City Denies Cross, Mississippi Law Forbids Church's Plan

Click headlines below to read previous articles:

Atheists Strip Memorial Crosses From Arkansas Football

Atheists Defeat Veterans Memorial in North Carolina

Atheists Want Marine Memorial Demolished at Pendleton

Atheists Want WWI Memorial Cross Demolished in Rhode Island

However, Federal Judge Favors D.C. Cross vs. Atheists, Muslims

-- From "Judge Strikes Down Effort To Restore Cross To LA County Seal" posted at CBS News Los Angeles 4/7/16

The ACLU alleged a Jan. 7, 2014, decision by the Board to restore the cross was unconstitutional because it “favors the Christian religion over all other religions and divides county residents by religion and by adherence or non-adherence to religious beliefs”, according to the complaint.

The Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 in 2014 in favor of a motion introduced by Supervisors Mike Antonovich and Don Knabe to add a cross to the top of the San Gabriel Mission on the county emblem, which is displayed on buildings, vehicles and official communications.

At the time, Antonovich and Knabe argued that restoring the cross is vital to the historical accuracy of the seal.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "LA County Must Keep Cross Off County Seal" by Bianca Bruno, Courthouse News Service 4/8/16

In her summary of the history of the case and the seal's controversy over the years, Snyder noted the back-and-forth that took place at several public meetings in 2004 after the ACLU threatened to file suit against the county.

The board voted 3-2 in favor of adopting the revised seal in 2004 [to remove the cross]. Changing the seal cost the county $700,000 to replace the image on county-owned and leased facilities and other property.

Antonovich and Supervisor Don Knabe proposed adding a cross to the 2004 redesign in 2009, when the Roman Catholic Church placed a cross on the Mission San Gabriel Arcangel 11 miles east of downtown LA. The two supervisors introduced a motion to add a cross to the depiction of the mission on the seal in December 2013.

In her order, Snyder found "that an 'informed and reasonable' observer who is 'familiar with the history of the government practice at issue' would perceive the county's addition of the cross to the 2004 seal to constitute approval or endorsement of a particular set of religious beliefs."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Christian cross has no place on L.A. County seal, judge rules" by Abby Sewell, Los Angeles Times 4/7/16

. . . When the seal was redesigned in 2004, there was no cross on top of the mission, as it had gone missing during earthquake retrofitting. The cross was later restored atop the building.

In a 55-page ruling released Thursday, U.S. District Judge Christina A. Snyder wrote that the addition of the cross ”carries with it an aura of prestige, authority, and approval. By singling out the cross for addition to the seal, the county necessarily lends its prestige and approval to a depiction of one faith’s sectarian imagery.

“The county also provides a platform for broadcasting that imagery on county buildings, vehicles, flags, and stationary.… Permitting such a change and the associated expenditure of public funds places the county’s power, prestige, and purse behind a single religion, Christianity, without making any such benefit available on an equal basis to those with secular objectives or alternative sectarian views."

But the two county supervisors who led the push to reinstate the cross criticized the judge’s decision, pointing out that other California municipalities – including Ventura and San Benito counties and the city of San Luis Obispo -- depict missions with crosses on their seal.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.