ACLU sues to tear down 75 yr old war memorial cross

After World War I, many U.S. soldiers moved to the Mojave desert to find physical and emotional healing.

In 1934, a group of veterans erected a single white cross, to honor their fallen comrades.

The site for the memorial was chosen because at a certain time of day, the sun casts a shadow on the rock which resembles a World War I doughboy.

A plaque was placed at the base of the cross explaining that the cross is a war memorial.

For more than 75 years, the memorial has stood as a reminder that there were those who fought and died for our freedoms.

In the intervening years, the property has been taken over by the government as part of the Mojave National Park.

For the past 30 years, the memorial has been torned down repeated by anti-military and anti-religion protestors. Each time, veterans have replaced it.

In 2001, a man who lives in Oregon and has never visited the cross said he was offended by the cross and sued to have the cross removed because it violated “the seperation of church and state”. He is represented by the ACLU.

(Sadly the plantiff, Mr. Buono, in court documents, describes himself as a Catholic.)

A California federal judge and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal have found in the ACLU’s favor. The case, Salazar v. Buono, will be heard this year in the US Supreme Court.

This is what the memorial used to look like.

This is what the memorial look like today.
A federal court judge ordered the cross covered in a plywood box pending the outcome of the case.

Hi Richard, you need a link to a news article for the news forums, and the thread title must match the title of the article. Here’s one (sad story, btw):

Memorial cross finds 3 allies in Supreme Court fight

Here is a bit more background on this case:

The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit in 2001 on behalf of former park service Frank Buono, a Roman Catholic who alleged that the cross violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The suit also noted that the park service had denied a request to have a Buddhist shrine erected near the cross.

U.S District Court Judge Robert J. Timlin of the Central District of California agreed with Buono, and ruled in 2002 that the “primary effect of the presence of the cross” was to “advance religion.”

Congress responded in 2004 by passing legislation directing the Department of the Interior to transfer about an acre of land to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in exchange for a privately owned plot nearby.

On Sept. 6, 2007, a three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the lower court ruling and invalidated the land transfer, noting that “carving out a tiny parcel of property in the midst of this vast preserve — like a donut hole with the cross atop it — will do nothing to minimize the impermissible governmental endorsement” of the religious symbol.

Last fall, the Bush administration appealed the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that the “seriously misguided decision” will require the government “to tear down a cross that has stood without incident for 70 years as a memorial to fallen service members.” The government also questioned whether Bruno had standing to challenge the cross, since he lives in Oregon and suffers no specific harm because of the cross.

The US Supreme Court agreed, in February, to hear the case in the fall.

Here is the ruling from the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit:

The petition for the US Supreme Court to hear the case:

The opposition brief:

The reply to that brief:

A supporting petition to have the Supreme Court hear the case, from several veterans organizations

I thank SCOTUSBlog
for pulling all those documents together.

The government also questioned whether Bruno had standing to challenge the cross, since he lives in Oregon and suffers no specific harm because of the cross.

No one suffers specific harm because of the cross.

– Mark L. Chance.

The man does not live in the area has never seen it yet he finds the cross offensive enough to sue? On top of that he claims to be a Catholic? How much does he know about his own faith? Wow this is complete lunacy! :frowning: A Christian is suing because he finds the cross of Christ offensive. :crying::highprayer:

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