Judge Rules Against Lake Elsinore City Council’s Veterans’ Memorial, Saying Its ‘Effect is to Advance Religion’

A saga that’s been working its way through the courts for years may finally be coming to a close.

While a detailed report on the Lake Elsinore Christian Monument can be read here, here’s the quick recap: In 2012, 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 which is below):

That’s a soldier kneeling in front of several 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.

Last July, U.S. District Court Judge Stephen Wilson issued a preliminary injunction in the case, essentially 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.

That was only a preliminary injunction, though. It stopped the memorial from being built for the time being, but it wasn’t a final decision on its constitutionality.

In October, Wilson heard both sides present their cases in court.

And now he has issued a much more definitive ruling. According to court documents, Wilson says once again — and there’s little doubt on how strong his conclusion is — that the monument violates the law:

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19 Words That Will Soon Be Banned in Brunei

Allah.

Azan.

Baitullah.

Al Quran.

Fatwa.

Firman Allah.

Hadith.

Haji.

Hukum syara’.

Ilahi.

Ka’bah.

Kalimah al syahadah.

Kiblat.

Masjid.

Imam.

Mufti.

Mu’min.

Solat.

Wali.

Beginning this April, the government of Brunei will penalize any non-Muslims who use those words in reference to their own faith — including local Christians who refer to their God with the word “Allah.” And it’ll only gets worse from there:

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A New Lawsuit May Finally Result in the Removal of the 40-Foot ‘Peace Cross’ on Public Property

If you visit Bladensburg, Maryland, you’ll see a 40-foot-tall World War I memorial called “Peace Cross.” Not only is it clearly a Christian symbol, it’s on public property, maintained by the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission:

In 2012, the American Humanist Association asked the Commission to take down he monument. It was perfectly fine to honor veterans, but not with a symbol that elevates one religion over all others and implies that only Christian soldiers fought in the war.

That complaint led to… nothing.

Which is why, yesterday, the AHA’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center filed a lawsuit on behalf of three plaintiffs:

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After Long Battle to Form High School Atheist Group, Student Bows Out After ‘Numerous Threats’ and ‘Verbal Attacks’

Over the last month, I wrote a few posts about how administrators at Pisgah High School in Canton, North Carolina were refusing to allow the formation of an atheist club run by 15-year-old Kalei Wilson (pronounced KAY-lee). They caved in days later, presumably from all the bad publicity:

It took letters from both the Secular Student Alliance and the Freedom From Religion Foundation (along with the ACLU of North Carolina) to convince school officials to change their minds.

The last time I spoke to Kalei, she told me she would be meeting with her principal to discuss the process of forming the group. Nearly a dozen students had expressed interest in joining the club and a couple of faculty members told her they would be glad to sponsor it.

But that all came to a halt yesterday.

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Albert Mohler Warns Brigham Young University About the Dangers of Secularism

Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, gave a speech yesterday at Brigham Young University. Why would Chief Baptist speak to a group of Mormons?

Because, he explained, there’s a danger that affects all of them: Secularism!



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