Soon to come before the Supreme Court, the case of a long-standing military memorial cross, challenged by atheists, but revered by veterans. The 29-foot cross, atop a high-hill overlooking San Diego, is the center piece of the Mount Soledad Veterans Memorial, constructed in 1954 to honor, and pay tribute to, fallen American veterans of World Wars I, II and the Korean War, to this day a sacred site of remembrance for all those who've served the nation, or currently do. Those opposed to the cross there on public land, those whose real goal is to drive all religion from public view, claim its display is a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Reviewing, that clause reads: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." The idea that a static cross at a veterans memorial in any way establishes, that is to say, imposes or forces, a particular religion on anyone is ludicrous. And if such were deemed to be the case, a counter-argument could be made that its removal prohibits the "free exercise" of that religion.
The left-leaning Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, unsurprisingly, declared the Mount Soledad cross unconstitutional in 2011. Its removal has been stayed pending appeals. In a welcome stand, the Justice Department does not consider that cross to be a constitutional infringement. Solicitor-General Donald Verrilli, Jr. has said (quote): "The United States remains fully committed to preserving the Mount Soledad cross as an appropriate memorial to our nation's veterans." With that important government support, it's our hope that the Supreme Court will either support the Mount Soledad Memorial as it stands, or remand the case back to the Ninth Circuit for further review. Our veterans, and our religious freedoms, deserve no less.