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Fight To Save Cross On Mount Soledad Appealed To U.S. Supreme Court

Evening Edition

The fight to save the cross on Mount Soledad in La Jolla is being appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, after a ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court last year declared the cross unconstitutional. People on both sides of the issue showed up to voice their concerns and opinions yesterday.

The fight over the 29 foot Latin cross has been going on for 22 years in San Diego. Now it's headed to the U.S. highest court in the land.

Kelly Shakelford is a First Amendment lawyer representing the Mount Soledad Memorial Association. "Polling shows 93 percent of the country says leave the veterans memorials alone. We don't care if there's religious symbols or not. Leave them alone, he said.

Shackelford is with the Liberty Institute, a nonprofit legal foundation in Dallas, Texas. He said if they don't get the Ninth Circuit Court ruling overturned, "none of that's going to matter because they are literally going to begin tearing down veterans memorials across the country and there are thousands and thousands of these memorials that have religious symbols, crosses and stars of David.

About two dozen protesters held signs denouncing the cross. George Liddle said he's an atheist whose grandfather was a veteran of war. "My issue is the cross. I think it's very clear that it's a Christian symbol. I don't believe there should be any recognition of religion on federal property," Liddle said.

Thomas Permuy is an atheist and active duty sailor. He said his protest has nothing to do with paying tribute to veterans. "Veterans need to be recognized it's something that doesn't happen a lot in America, but that cross singles people out. And I think there are people of different faith persuasion that are insulted by it," Permuy said.

The Supreme Court already overturned a similar case against a cross in the Mohave Desert.

That cross was stolen after the decision and has not been replaced yet. We should know by summer if the court decides to take up the case the Mount Soledad.

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Avatar for user 'kbgressitt'

kbgressitt | February 10, 2012 at 8:50 a.m. ― 5 years ago

Interesting. George Liddle opposes recognition of religion on federal property, which has a certain logic, but at the same time he aggressively promotes his publication, The Koala, that "recognizes" as humor content promoting rape and other violence against girls and women, pedophilia, racism and sexism, and he does so on the three public university campuses in San Diego County. Liddle owns and markets the private, for-profit publication to local advertisers for distribution at UCSD, SDSU and CSUSM, and he does so claiming First Amendment protection, the same protection promoters of the cross claim. Perhaps they should follow Liddle's lead and stand on federal property aggressively handing out crosses. Liddle should not have a problem with that.

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Avatar for user 'corwinabell'

corwinabell | February 10, 2012 at 4:30 p.m. ― 5 years ago

The continuing controversy over crosses on government property atop Camp Pendleton and San Diego hills reminds me of a similar issue in 1930's Germany. Adolf Hitler, a confirmed Catholic, attacked atheists and freethinkers as his first order of business when he assumed power, closing a freethinkers hall with a membership of 500,000. That same year he instituted a "Campaign against the Godless Movement." Like the current Republican Right, he despised public secular schools, saying, "Secular schools can never be tolerated because such schools have no religious instruction, and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith...we need believing people." (April 26, 1933, speech made during negotiations leading to the Nazi-Vatican Concordant)

In a similar cross issue, Hitler believed that crosses dedicated to Nazi martyrs on hills supported the dominance of Christianity. For example: “Our faith does and must continue to rule this nation. The cross atop the Großer Arber mountain stands as the eternal symbol of that fundamental principle of our movement and as a continuing tribute to the martyrs who died in its holy cause.” - Adolf Hitler, Speech Nuremberg, September 2 ,1933. 5th Party Congress; The title “Rally of Victory” (Reichsparteitag des Sieges). The Leni Riefenstahl film Der Sieg des Glaubens (English: The Victory of Faith) was made at this rally.

I like Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, and I am a registered Republican, but I fear that the party is losing its way to the religious right. I am a veteran of the Vietnam War, decorated with two Bronze Star Medals with "V" for Valor for combat actions in boats on the streams in the Mekong Delta's Rung U Minh (Dark Forest). As such, I have more respect than most for our honored dead. However, I also respect the separation of church and state, and I resent efforts to infringe on the constitutions of the U.S. and the state under the guise of honoring those dead. I yearn for the time when the Republican Party was the party of Abraham Lincoln, and the Religious Right were Democrat slave owners, who believed not just in Exodus Chapter 20, which contains the Ten Commandments, but also in Exodus Chapter 21, which contain's God's "ordinances," which provide the rules permitting the owning of slaves.

It is ironic that the same people who now resent any infringement on the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution by gun control advocates have no such reservations about infringement by Christians on the 1st Amendment separation of church and state. Contrary to a popular belief, it is not just Christians in our foxholes, but also Jews, Moslems, Buddhists, Hindus, and atheists.

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