Mount Soledad Veterans Memorial
Associated Press/Photo by Lenny Ignelzi (file)
Mount Soledad Veterans Memorial

Federal judge: Tear down Mount Soledad Cross

Religious Liberty

When I wrote about the Mount Soledad Veterans Memorial in La Jolla, Calif., an affluent area of San Diego, in August, I mentioned that the cross was in litigation. I took several photos of it in case the unbelievers prevailed. The cross and its base reach 43 feet, and the structure can be seen for miles. As of last week, the unbelievers won the battle. A federal judge ruled the cross unconstitutional.

In 2011, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the cross unconstitutional. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case. The judge who rendered the latest decision said the cross must be removed within 90 days. He’ll stay the order pending appeal—a temporary victory. The American Center for Law and Justice, which filed an amicus brief on behalf of 18 members of Congress who sought to save the cross, stands firm:

“We will continue to aggressively argue in support of this memorial and commemorative cross. We believe the law and precedent are clear: the Supreme Court has concluded in the past that ‘a Latin cross is not merely a reaffirmation of Christian beliefs. It is a symbol often used to honor and respect those whose heroic acts, noble contributions, and patient striving help secure an honored place in history for this Nation and its people.’ This memorial should not create a constitutional crisis. It is part of the history and heritage of the San Diego area.”

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As I shook my head in disappointment over the judge’s decision, I wondered if all the litigation was worth it. How important is it for Christians to fight to keep crosses and monuments to the Ten Commandments on government grounds? These are symbols of a faith that played a fundamental role in this country’s development, but are we kicking against the goads? Should we render unto Caesar? The “angry atheists” who lost a battle to remove the Ground Zero Cross from the site of the World Trade Center terrorist attack vowed to keep fighting. Are we focusing on relatively small issues to the neglect of larger ones?

A commenter on one of the articles I read about the case brought up a good point. What if Muslims erected a huge crescent on government-owned property? I admit I wouldn’t like it. But I don’t know if I’d fight to have it removed. Those of us convicted by the Holy Spirit and who’ve repented and believe know that all gods other than the God of the Bible are false. In that regard, other religious symbols don’t rise to the same level as the cross. But rather than advocating the crescent’s removal, I’d want the site to include a cross.

Food for thought. We’re commanded to make disciples, so if fighting to keep religious symbols on government grounds impedes us from doing that, the answer seems evident. We can rest in the knowledge that the ultimate war is won.

La Shawn Barber
La Shawn Barber

La Shawn writes about culture, faith, and politics. Her work has appeared in the Christian Research Journal, Christianity Today, the Washington Examiner, and other publications


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