Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America

JWV Condemns Efforts to Protect Mt. Soledad Cross

Summer 2006

The Jewish War Veterans of the USA (JWV) condemns recent legislation transferring the giant cross on Mt. Soledad to the Federal government as a ploy to protect a memorial that is offensive to non-Christian veterans who have served our country with bravery and distinction. Despite this ploy, judicial opinions over the years have deemed the cross monument unconstitutional as a Church-State matter. The Los Angeles Times in a recent editorial has stated: "Whether viewed as a war memorial, an icon or a place of worship, the cross is an extremely visible symbol of one religion. It occupies arguably the most prominent piece of public real estate in the city, which is in a state where the Constitution is even more exacting than the U.S. Bill of Rights about the separation of church and state." In a recent letter issued jointly by the JWV and the Anti-Defamation League, we urged Congress to not pass this legislation, which has been signed into law by President Bush. As we noted in that letter, "For years, federal and California state courts have consistently held that the Latin Cross atop Mt. Soledad is a religious symbol, notwithstanding efforts to portray the Cross as merely part of a memorial to honor those that have died in service of their country." The cross on Mt. Soledad clearly communicates an inappropriate message of favoritism and endorsement of the majority faith, a message which is inconsistent with the requirement of government neutrality in religious affairs. The JWV urges continued litigation against this so-called "memorial," and is confident that future court decisions will uphold previous decisions deeming it unconstitutional. Veterans of all faiths have served and died, and continue to serve and die in the war against terrorism, to uphold the tenets of our Constitution, including the separation of church and state. It is an affront to non-Christian veterans for their service to be commemorated by a cross. The JWV condemns this property transfer as an election-year attempt to circumvent previous rulings and feels confident that future judicial rulings will deem the cross to be unconstitutional.

 

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