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San Diego Cross Ruled Unconstitutional


CNN.com reported this week that the huge white cross atop Mt. Soledad in San Diego, built as a war memorial in 1954 and made a public site in 2006, constitutes a government endorsement of religion and “sends the wrong message” to veterans.  The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals wrote in its ruling, “The use of such a distinctively Christian symbol to honor all veterans sends a strong message of endorsement and exclusion. It suggests 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.” CNN says the ruling will probably be appealed, although the site has been troubled with various legal actions since 1989 when two Vietnam veterans sued the city over it. According to The Los Angeles Times, the cross was not ordered removed by the ruling but instead sent the case to a trial judge. A quote from Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice on the ruling: “Historically, war memorials will traditionally have a cross as a reference point because it has taken on this universal symbolism of sacrifice all over the world. If this decision stands—that every war memorial that has a religious symbol is unconstitutional—it will be really troubling to the supreme courts.”