September 2012 Church & State | AU Bulletin

The U.S. Supreme Court has decided not to hear a long-running controversy over a 43-foot-tall cross displayed on government property in San Diego.

Americans United welcomed the court’s June 25 refusal of the case because the Christian cross is not an appropriate symbol to memorialize deceased veterans of many different faith perspectives.

“Crosses belong in sacred spaces, not on public property,” said Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United, in a press statement. “It’s time to move on and create a memorial that honors all of the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for this country.”

Litigation over the Mt. Soledad cross has been under way for nearly 20 years. Several federal courts have ruled against its display on public property. In an effort to keep the cross where it is, the federal government acquired the land underneath the structure in 2006.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last year in Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America v. City of San Diego that the religious display violates separation of church and state. Americans United and other groups filed a friend-of-the-court brief urging the judges to reach that conclusion.