It’s been the longest-running Establishment Clause case in American history and it’s still being debated more than 23 years later.
It involves the Mount Soledad cross in San Diego — a huge cross on public land erected in 1954. After the now-deceased Philip Paulson challenged the cross’ constitutionality more than two decades ago and after atheist Steve Trunk took up the case a few years ago, atheists have generally prevailed in the court system. Last year, the Supreme Court declined to hear any more challenges from Christian groups, putting the future of the cross back in the hands of lower courts.
Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Larry Burns ordered the cross to come down from the mountain within 90 days… which sounds great until you realize the Christian side will appeal, further delaying the inevitable. Burns actually ruled in 2008 that the cross should stay put, but the Appeals court above him overturned his decision. With that in mind, Burns said there was no way the cross could still stay:
… In the end, Burns said he felt his hands were tied and there was little room to maneuver around the 9th Circuit’s ruling of unconstitutionality.
“Deliberate language in the opinion makes it clear that removal of the large, historic cross is the only remedy that the Ninth Circuit conceives will cure the constitutional violation,” Burns wrote in his ruling.
The cross will eventually come down. There’s just no legal way to justify a giant Christian symbol on federal property. But Christian groups argue this is all about what the veterans want. Well, the veterans fought for our freedom, and that includes preventing an establishment of religion by the government.
The fight ended a long time ago. Now, it’s on life support. Can Christian groups just pull the plug already?
(Thanks to Frank for the link)