Court Rules Cross Must Come Down

Yesterday, a district court ruled that the federal government may no longer display a 43-foot Latin cross on Mt. Soledad in San Diego, California. The Court's order, which prohibits the government from "displaying or continuing to allow the display of the current cross on federal land as part of the Mount Soledad Veterans Memorial," follows a 2011 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit holding that the display violates the fundamental principles underlying the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The ACLU and the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties brought this case on behalf of the Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America, the oldest veterans' organization in the country, and other plaintiffs because we believe that government war memorials should honor veterans of all faiths, as well as those of no faith. The Constitution requires no less, and a gigantic, 43-foot Latin cross doesn't come close. As the Court of Appeals explained, "The use of such a distinctively Christian symbol to honor all veterans sends a strong message of endorsement and exclusion. It suggests that the government is so connected to a particular religion that it treats that religion's symbolism as its own, as universal. To many non-Christian veterans, this claim of universality is alienating."

While some defendants suggested that the cross could be preserved by adding signage disclaiming an endorsement or taking other measures, the district court correctly concluded that removal of the cross "is the only remedy that that the Ninth Circuit conceives will cure the constitutional violation."

Yesterday's victory reaffirms that the government should not play favorites with religion. Sacrificing the very constitutional principles that many veterans have risked their lives to defend is no way to pay tribute to our military. It's time for the government to give up its indefensible defense of the Mt. Soledad cross and embrace a memorial that honors all veterans equally, without regard to faith.

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Anonymous

The ACLU is the most ridiculous organization, there is no rights being violated, to sue to take this down when it has hurt no one. I thought defending rights was about protecting people being hurt. The Cross is not a copy right of any organization it is only a symbol. At some point the ACLU will destroy this country and what few morals it has left.

Richard T

"This is a victory for religious liberty," said Daniel Mach, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's program on freedom of religion and belief who argued the matter for the plaintiffs in a hearing before Burns on Thursday.

This is no victory but rather a travesty.

Anonymous

I've always supported the ACLU - but this is not a way to win friends. Please do a better job picking high priority problems. Google is doing a better job at protecting our freedom from surveillance and a turn key totalitarian state than the ACLU is, and it's not their job to do so. I will not be renewing my membership and I will encourage my friends to do the same. Bye.

Anonymous

You people must be out of your minds. That cross is a symbol for all Americans that have fought and died for this country. I'm so sick and tired of hearing people bitch and complain about how "GOD" has no business being involved in our lives. I think it's time for the "ACLU" to butt out of everyones business. The only liberties that the "ACLU" want to preserve are the ones that they benefit from and no one else.

Anonymous

Way to go ACLU - another reason this country is becoming a little less tolerant. This victory only helps to motivate a growing number of people dissatisfied with the direction this country is headed.

Anonymous

As an American citizen, and CHRISTian, these actions are violating my Civil Rights!!! The more you, the a.c.l.u., join forces with the liberal-minded idiots of the elected leaders (which were intended to be servants of the people) seek new ways to become rulers and masters telling us (the Christian community, what, when, where, and how we can speak of our belief in Jesus Christ. Doing these actions, you are violating my Civil Rights (most of all, my first amendment): "the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion" and yet you DO NOT know the true meaning of separation of Church and state, which says: "the state will NOT seek to control the actions, the freedoms of, or the display of the Christian faith." - Thomas Jefferson.

The federal elected idiots now, always lay a claim to "It's Unconstitutional!" If it is so unconstitutional, then why did our forefathers make law then and those now override their laws. The Mayflower Compact states: "Having undertaken, for the Glory of God, and advancements of the Christian faith..." And it was signed by 41 people to make this purpuse in forming the United States that "for the Glory of God, and advancements of the Christian faith" and you are doing all you can to silence Almighty God. But...BUT, YOU WILL NEVER SILENT ME!!! --- Kevin Pounders

Anonymous

You guys are so ignorant. There is no place in the Constitution a ban on religious references.

Anonymous

Civil liberty?!! You have got to be kidding me!

Believer

Shame on your organization. Where the cross has meaning to Christians around the world it doesn't say anything to others that do not believe. Pretty soon your organization will want to ban any religion or church. American Civil Liberties Union does not represent the USA because the United States of America was founded on the Bible by Christian Leaders who founded this country.

Anonymous

The Cross does not do anything to make someone change their belief. They have to do that on their own free will. So I oppose the ruling and hope your organization will change their position on this. Read the Constitution, it does not say anywhere a Cross does anything wrong between church and state. Shame on the ACLU.

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