The cross or the the star of David. They are deemed unconstitutional, yet displaying the burqa or some other nonsense is OK?
Erecting a Christian cross on public land as a war memorial is a fraught issue in the courts. Does it honor only Christian patriots or all — and if it’s for everyone, what’s the meaning of the cross? Why not some generic sculpture?
You may recall the fracas over the cross in the Mojave desert (shown here) that was up before the U.S. Supreme Court last year. Now the 29-foot white veterans memorial atop Mt. Soledad, in California, is back in the headlines — once more deemed unconstitutional. The San Diego Union-Tribune has the story.
A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that the cross atop Mount Soledad is unconstitutional but did not explicitly say the landmark must be removed.
The long-awaited opinion by a panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is a setback for cross supporters — and the latest ruling in a 20-year legal battle over the presence of the cross on public land.
The Alliance Defense Fund senior counsel Joe Infrancois was outraged, saying in a press release:
The memory of those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom shouldn’t be dishonored because the ACLU finds a small number of people who are merely offended… No one is harmed, constitutionally or otherwise, by the presence of a cross on a war memorial. There is great harm to tearing these memorials down.
Does this mean that memorials minus a cross are somehow second class? And what does a cross symbolize if not the death and resurrection of Jesus in Christian belief?
In 2008m the U.S. Supreme Court sent the Mojave cross controversy back to the lower courts for reconsideration and the discussion of the meaning of the cross was fascinating.
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that:
Here, one Latin cross in the desert evokes far more than religion. It evokes thousands of small crosses in foreign fields marking the graves of Americans who fell in battles, battles whose tragedies are compounded if the fallen are forgotten.”
While Justice John Paul Stevens countered:
The cross is not a universal symbol of sacrifice. It is the symbol of one particular sacrifice, and that sacrifice carries deeply significant meaning for those who adhere to the Christian faith.
If the cross is not about Christ, if it’s just some heroic minimalist sculpture, why would Christians fight for it? Can you hear the chorus now, lauding, The Old Rugged(fill in the meaning-of-the-day) Cross?