Judge orders removal of long-standing war memorial cross


A San Diego federal court ruled Thursday that a giant cross that has stood atop a Southern California mountain for decades is unconstitutional and must be removed.

U.S. District Judge Larry Burns ordered the 43-foot Latin cross, erected on San Diego’s Mount Soledad in 1954 to honor Korean War veterans, to come down within 90 days, according to NBC San Diego.

However, he immediately stayed his ruling in anticipation that it would be appealed.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Jewish Veterans of the United States of American as well as several local residents, has been fighting for the cross’s removal since 2006.

“We support the government paying tribute to those who served bravely in our country’s armed forces,” said Daniel Mach, director of the ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief, in a press release Thursday, according to the NBC affiliate. “But we should honor all of our heroes under one flag, not just one particular religious symbol.”

“A national war memorial should stand for all of those who served,” said Norma Chavez-Peterson, executive director of the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties, in a press release. “It is inappropriate and unconstitutional to declare a deeply religious symbol that excludes those outside of that faith as a monument to all veterans.”

Although the ruling disappointed Bruce Bailey, president of the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association, he told Fox News that “we are grateful for the judge’s stay that gives us an opportunity to fight this all the way to the Supreme Court.”

Hiram Sasser, director of litigation for the Liberty Institute, told Fox News in a statement that it pledges to “fight for this memorial and the selfless sacrifice and service of all the millions of veterans it represents; it is the least we can do for those who gave so much to us all.”

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About Michael Dorstewitz

Mike has been with BizPac Review almost from the beginning. Email Mike at michael@bizpacreview and follow him on Twitter at @MikeBPR.

  • watcherofolde

    What is WITH liberal American Jews? They bring suits like this, they hate Israel, they hate themselves!

    • bodica

      Prolly not Hebrews. More like Ashke-nazi plants and homosexual activists – who, like the 70s and 80s feminazis do not represent the majority of their ‘constituents!’ For instance at the time of the Roe v Wade-Supreme Court travesty, 74% of Americans OPPOSED Abortion on demand. ‘Civil Liberties?’ Close them down for fraudulent advertising, fundraising whatever. They’re a shower of UNCIVIL LIBERTINES trying to wrest CIVIL RIGHTS from CHRISTIANS! Largely funded by islamist organisations, word has it tho I have no personal corroboration of that.

  • RepublicAnne

    The self-loathing is only part of it… I think the ACLU has outlived its usefulness/purpose. It’s a racist organization in search of a cause… Withhold your support…

    • Mike Young

      One easy way for people to drop their financial support of the Anti-Christian Lawyers Union aka the ACLU would be if they have Auto, Home, Life, Health, or any other type of Insurance through Progressive Insurance Company, I am sure you have seen the adds with Flo the Insurance Gal in her cute little Progressive outfit. Change your Insurance company, Progressive owns the Anti-Christian Lawyers Union.

  • Mamatex

    Can’t recall when I have been made so angry. Everyday brings out another nail for the coffin of Uncle Sam!


    explain why it has to be a cross representing Korean War vets? Other types of memorials can be used. Christians were not the only ones who fought. Christians think they are being persecuted but you should try walking in someone elses shoes

    • Eileen Wright

      The cross was a symbol of all those who died, not just Christians. Whose shoes should I walk in? Jesus was Jew.

    • tnbroker1

      Other than Christians have not offered to pay the expense and erect such memorials. Christians have from the start of the nation and before it was a nation worked to make this a great place to live and enjoy the blessings of God in peace. They have earned a right to publicly display their respect. The cross never did exclude anyone, it is for everyone. It represents death and hope for life.

    • Laverl Turley

      First YOU explain why no one else has built or provided anything as a memorial for the Korean War Vets. I would accept it, but don’t take away the right of others to have a memorial to honor them just because you or anyone else don’t want to do the same in your own way. Don’t take my freedom to suit your lack of imagination or ambition to do your own honoring of VETS.

      • EliseR

        There is a beautiful Korean War memorial in DC with no religious artifacts.

        • sherry8260

          But what about those who WANT a religious symbol for their loved/admired ones? Are we to stop asking for what we want because we’re afraid to “offend” someone? Why don’t the complainers erect their own “artifacts”/symbols along side each other instead of tearing one down? Why must people control instead of get along? Why is that so difficult?

  • John Singer

    Why is there a such thing as a liberal Jew? It is like having a vegan butcher!

    • EliseR

      This is the kind of sentiment that makes people NOT want Christian symbols on public property. Not everyone wants to be reminded of the hate people like you have for others.

      • Laverl Turley

        I have read John Singer’s comment over 3 times and I do not see hate in it, however I do see hate in yours. Now why are you so hateful.

        • sherry8260

          Exactly, Laverl. I can’t for the life of me understand why people like Elise want to destroy and cause ill will when they can either learn to ignore or put up icons of their own. Of course, I can see something phallic next to a cross being put up by people like her but what they dont understand is that is doesn’t matter. No matter how large or how small, the cross will always be taller in our opinion than any blaspheme they erect. I just don’t understand their utter hatred and how they don’t grasp how much less miserable they would be is they would learn to work with others instead of trying to control them…

  • Richard D Davis

    Times are destined to get worse. The Antichrist, and there are many, are foretold to be in these latter days. Just be prepared to comply and have in place funds to build another, but private, monument off park site, reusing the present Cross and truly honor the veterans who served there without discrimination.

  • laurachatfield

    So put up a Star of David, and any other symbol that someone wants to put up if it will make them feel better. They always want to just take things away instead of just add to for the inclusion of others. Wah wah wah!
    What is the symbol for Atheism? A black hole?

  • bclomptwihm

    Did The ACLU run out of child molesters to defend? http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/aponline/20000831/aponline171914_000.htm

  • disqus_GYXQ8Ms8Zk

    Why can’t they erect a Jewish symbol along side of the existing Cross if they really feel that offended. You see symbols of different religions in memorial cemeteries so whats the difference and would stop a lot of bitchin’!!!

    • EliseR

      Why not just put up an American flag? It’s a symbol that is inclusive of everyone who fought and died for our country. Why do memorials only have to be for people of a specific religion?

      • Laverl Turley

        This specific Cross was paid for by the Korean Vets, at the time it was erected it was on private land. The Government took it over in later years. Now some one thinks it should not be there, But it was there before the government took it over. Should you want the Government to take down the Redwoods because it is offensive to some un-named Indian because of the name red being in it, they were there before the Government took them over too?? Why is it that people want to stop others from doing things to Honor others when they could very well do something themselves in their own way to honor others, but refuse to.

      • sherry8260

        You’re not getting it, Elise. There is no problem with people of other religions erecting their own symbols of peace. The cross has always been a symbol of peace. It’s just people who make it a personal problem – then go on to try and make it everyone else problem, too. Its not about religion. Its about control. Nothing more. And I’m not getting why people would rather control than compromise. Perhaps YOU can explain it.

  • DangIt Bobby

    The First Amendment of The COTUS states: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

    Let’sbreak it down: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion… Pretty simple. The government can not create or sanction an “Official State Religion”.

    …or prohibiting the free exercise thereof… The government can’t tell ANYBODY what they can or can’t believe.

    That’s it. That’s all the COTUS says about government and religion. Nothing in there about keeping prayer out of schools, or 10 Commandment Monuments off of City Hall grounds , or a cross on a hill.

    If veterans of other faiths want a religious symbol, too, then, by golly, let them build on next to the cross.