We have an update on the Lake Elsinore Christian Monument!
You can read a full recap of what happened here, but the short version is that the City Council of Lake Elsinore, California unanimously approved a $50,000 veterans’ monument to be placed in front of Diamond Stadium, a city-owned minor league baseball stadium (a mockup of what it would look like is below):
If you can’t tell, the soldier is kneeling in front of a whole bunch of Christian crosses… and one Jewish star. Because only Christians have died in our country’s wars.
And one Jew.
And no one else, ever.
The city council’s lawyer warned board members that this would be illegal, but they didn’t listen.
Now, they have no choice.
On Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Stephen Wilson issued a preliminary injunction (PDF), which is a fancy way of saying “This shit is illegal”:
… upon consideration of the meanings of the Latin cross and Star of David, as well as Monument 2’s history, secularizing elements, and physical setting, Plaintiffs are likely to prevail on their contention that a reasonable observer would perceive Monument 2 as “sending primarily a message of” endorsing religion.
“It is a violation of the First Amendment when a government body unnecessarily chooses a divisively religious means of honoring the country’s veterans,” said William Burgess, an attorney with the Appignani Humanist Legal Center participating at yesterday’s hearing. “We are pleased that Judge Wilson has seen the necessary merit in our case to stop the religious memorial from being erected on public grounds.”
The city council can appeal, but they’d be crazy to try. In his decision, Judge Wilson cited all sorts of precedents for why this monument had no business going up on public property, paid for by the taxpayers. Still, the council’s defense attorney is acting like this isn’t already a done deal:
Attorney Kevin Snider of Pacific Justice Institute, which is representing the city in the case, said the ruling… did not include a written order and opinion, so the city is awaiting that filing before deciding how to respond.
Well, the written order is available now. It’s very clear that council members are trying to promote religion with public funds in a blatantly unconstitutional way.
It’s time for Snider to throw up that white flag.