U.S. Supreme Court clears way for California to remove large cross

June 27, 2012

(The Mount Soledad cross, 1 Oct 2005/Will Fresch)

The U.S. Supreme Court has let stand a ruling that a large Christian cross as part of a war memorial in California violated the constitutional ban on government endorsement of religion.

The justices rejected an appeal on Monday by the Obama administration and by an association that erected the cross arguing the government should not be forced to take down the memorial cross that stood atop Mount Soledad in San Diego since 1954 to honor veterans.

The case involved whether a religious symbol can be prominently displayed on public land and whether the cross violated the U.S. Constitution’s requirement on church-state separation.

The Supreme Court has been closely divided and has struggled for years to come up with clear rules on what religious displays, ranging from crosses to the Ten Commandments, can be put on public property, along with secular items.

The Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that a federal judge erred by ordering the removal of a large Christian cross as part of a war memorial in a remote part of the California desert. But that ruling did not decide the constitutionality of the cross.

The 43-foot high San Diego cross is surrounded by walls displaying granite plaques that commemorate veterans or veterans groups. Located between the Pacific Ocean and an interstate highway, it can be seen for miles.

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3 comments

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Take it down. It clearly is a violation of the separation of church and state since it is on public land.

Posted by arttie | Report as abusive

yeah while you are at it, lets take down EVERYTHING with historical value… dont you realize that EVERYTHING has religious significance….the missions along the pacific coastline… many museums… many government buildings…. but because of historical value, they wont be knocked down… this country has gotten so afraid of offending ppl that we are tearing down the very foundation of what made this country so great to begin with…

Posted by nikaraci | Report as abusive

taking it down would be restricting the free exercise of religion! how we’ve gone from “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” to “Congress shall allow no religious expression whatsoever on public land” remains a mystery.

Shall we bulldoze all the tombstones in Arlington too? Have we considered that this misinterpretive anti-religious expression meme amounts to government endorsement of atheism, humanism or agnosticism? Let the 1st Amendment read as it is written – it is freedom of religion, not freedom from such.

Posted by posthu | Report as abusive