Friday, February 10, 2012
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.