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Ninth Circuit Refuses to Reconsider Soledad Cross Ruling

The U.S Ninth district federal appeals court today rejected a request by the city of San Diego and the federal government to reconsider its ruling that the Mt. Soledad Cross is unconstitutional.

According to Courthouse News Service, Judge Carlos Bea issued a 20-page dissent, arguing that the 43-foot cross was similar to the Ten Commandments display at the Texas state capitol, which the Supreme Court held to be constitutional in 2005.

"For the same reason that the Ten Commandments stand today in that park in Austin, Texas, the cross should continue to stand on Mt. Soledad: a religious symbol is not always used to promote religion," Bea wrote.

"Situated between Camp Pendleton and Naval Base San Diego, Mt. Soledad is a memorial to the sacrifice made by many soldiers who have protected this country over the years, regardless of their religion," the judge continued.

"And it is a promise to those current soldiers, a promise that we appreciate the sacrifice they are willing to make for our freedom and that, if they pay the ultimate price, we will remember them. The cross has stood at the entrance to this memorial for almost 100 years. It has taken on the symbolism of marking the entrance to a war memorial. We should leave it be."

We have the full ruling here.

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The U.S Ninth district federal appeals court today rejected a request by the city of San Diego and the federal government to reconsider its ruling that the Mt. Soledad Cross is unconstitutional.

According to Courthouse News Service, Judge Carlos Bea issued a 20-page dissent, arguing that the 43-foot cross was similar to the Ten Commandments display at the Texas state capitol, which the Supreme Court held to be constitutional in 2005.

"For the same reason that the Ten Commandments stand today in that park in Austin, Texas, the cross should continue to stand on Mt. Soledad: a religious symbol is not always used to promote religion," Bea wrote.

"Situated between Camp Pendleton and Naval Base San Diego, Mt. Soledad is a memorial to the sacrifice made by many soldiers who have protected this country over the years, regardless of their religion," the judge continued.

"And it is a promise to those current soldiers, a promise that we appreciate the sacrifice they are willing to make for our freedom and that, if they pay the ultimate price, we will remember them. The cross has stood at the entrance to this memorial for almost 100 years. It has taken on the symbolism of marking the entrance to a war memorial. We should leave it be."

We have the full ruling here.

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Comments
14

Surprised? I'm not. This was, after all, the Ninth Circus court.

Oct. 14, 2011

The 9th is right-for once. It is unconstitutional. The 10 Commandments case in Texas was an AWFUL decision by the 5th Circuit-know that case well. it does not surpose me that idiot Bea would argue that TX case in support of Soledad.

This case started, I believe, in 1988, it is nearly a quarter of a century old now. Time to put this case to rest.

I still do not understand why the city/gov/whoever has title to it today doesn't just sell the small area under the cross to a private party. Problem solved.

Oct. 14, 2011

Selling the property did happen, I think, and it went to a group of public cross-loving right-wingers led by a Kellogg who owns the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club. I think that sale of land was also reviewed in the 9th District Court's standing opinion on the matter that the Soledad Cross is unconstitutional.

When is Judge Carlos Bea up for election and who appointed him, W?

Oct. 14, 2011

Federal judges are appointed, and serve for life.

Oct. 14, 2011

Of course,thank you,just wishful thinking.

Oct. 14, 2011

Perhaps now we can place the Mt. Soledad Cross in the Children's Pool in La Jolla to attract religious Christian seals, as a lasting local symbol of how entirely ridiculous and paranoid that humanity has become. This fight to remove a simple cross, anyone have a dollar amount on what taxpayer money has been spent on it? What a waste of damned time and money.

Oct. 14, 2011

"....anyone have a dollar amount on what taxpayer money has been spent on it?"

Millions, several million.

Under the law, documents 20 years or older can be called "ancient documents". This case has been going on so long it is ancient.

Oct. 14, 2011

Too funny--sad too. Such discussions have me once again pondering our supposed evolution...and understanding my mum's inclination to live as a recluse. She tells me that she just doesn't have the patience for any of this nonsense anymore.

Oct. 15, 2011

lol--children's pool...very funny.

Oct. 15, 2011

did i read this right???

a religious symbol is not always used to promote religion," Bea wrote.

Oct. 15, 2011

You read it correctly, and there is truth in it. The key word is "promote". Religious symbolism, in fact, has often been invented to NOT promote, which could have been deadly in more ancient times. ICTYS, for example, the "fish" symbol, coming from the Ancient Greek and used as an acrostic during the Roman conquest, was meant to be so subtle as to not alert the Romans of a Christian belief, as it was to help Greek Christians know which Greeks were, in fact, Christians, and therefore not a threat. And the symbol itself probably has deeper ancient pagan roots.

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the CROSS actually predates Christianity by perhaps thousands of years. While it is unclear if it served a significant religious purpose or was simply displayed for its ornamental value, some anthropologists have offered that perhaps the symbol was first used to celebrate man's discovery of fire by rubbing two sticks together. Since there is no written history of the era, we will likely never know, but the cross symbol in one form or another can be found in the history of practically every culture on Earth.

Was the intent of the cross to "promote" Christianity? That seems highly doubtful. One hundred years ago, some private citizens erected a wooden cross in that location. Ironically, the Klu Klux Klan was responsible for burning that original cross down. The modern "memorial" was erected in the same light as the original. The "Easter" memorial became a war memorial, much as now a lot of religious symbolism hijacked beliefs and standards of an earlier time. Does a cross really promote Christianity? Does the Star of David promote Judaism? If you believe it does, then I guess it does, but then, how much money are you willing to spend razing anything that could be considered as promoting religion on public land? The way I see it, religions have hijacked these symbols and use them as they see fit. They do not own them and they did not invent them (and in fact did not employ their use until relatively recently). To me, it is as ridiculous as tearing out the white sheets in the bedroom at the Governor's mansion because the very same Klan that burned down the original Mt. Soledad Cross employed their use during their ceremonies.

Waste of taxpayer money.

Oct. 15, 2011

Under the U.S. constitution treaties approved by Congress are the supreme law of the land. If the President negotiates a treaty with a foreign government with a provision that requires the U.S. government to maintain a cross on top of Mt. Soledad while the treaty is in effect, the courts would be powerless to order its removal.

Oct. 15, 2011

Oh for god's sake, Burwell, thank you for offering yet another quasi-legal dodge for keeping that Christian Cross up on Mt. Soledad.

FYI, Judge Bea, a religious symbol publicly displayed may not "promote religion" per se, but it can insult, inflame and disgust people and galvanize action.

Especially when it's a Christian Cross on public land at the highest geographical point in the area. Especially when it was put up at a time of anti-Communist McCarthy fervor in the 1950's in a community like Jolla that had real estate restrictions against homeowning by Jews. Especially when it was annually used only for Christian Easter Sunrise Services. Especially when it most recently shapeshifted into a military memorial by selling underlying public land to a private group intent on keeping that "simple cross" right where it is. (I forget which GOP Congressman facilitated that deal -- retired Duncan Hunter Sr. or disgraced Randy "Duke" Cunningham.)

Anyway, the Soledad Cross saga may seem ridiculous at nearly 30 years and counting, but some people just really take to heart that "no establishment of religion" clause in the Constitution and will pursue, with their own dollars -- not taxpayers' -- righting a wrong, even if they die in the process and someone else takes up the cause. When the day comes that no one follows up, you'll know we're in real trouble.

Oct. 17, 2011

Thank NO GOD for spending millions in taxpayer money to tear down a monument because it frightens you, monaghan. I'll happily take all of your cash money off of your hands now, I wouldn't want the "In God We Trust" thing to offend you. Seriously. Let's meet up from time to time and you are free to empty your pockets and find redemption in the entirely blank pieces of paper I give you in return. I'm just a good pal that way, no need to thank me in advance. I'll keep most of your cash, but I promise to donate some of it to purchase a slide that can be installed for the baby seals to have some fun at the La Jolla Children's pool.

Oct. 17, 2011

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