Saying a decision by a federal court to remove the famous Mt. Soledad Cross from a Southern California veterans memorial on Thursday was the latest skirmish in the war against religion and faith, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said not even Congress can protect landmark symbols from “angry atheists armed with attorneys.”
“This is just more reason why we need to stand up for our constitution and the religious liberty it protects,” Palin said.
Palin urged her followers on Friday to read a Breitbart News report on the decision, and said that the attacks on veterans’ memorials mean those “who made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our freedoms can’t even be honored with a symbol embodying one of those freedoms.”
In her blockbuster bestseller Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas, Palin has said these attacks are the tip of the spear in a larger fight to fundamentally transform America. Palin noted that in “Good Tidings and Great Joy,” she “mentioned a lawsuit taken against a World War I veterans memorial cross in California’s Mojave Desert”:
In the 1930s, the Veterans of Foreign Wars put up a cross in the Mojave Desert– in an isolated area known as Sunrise Rock– to honor our brave soldiers who died in World War I. The modest cross, made out of eight-foot metal pipes painted white, sat on 1.6 acres of desert, 90 percent of which is federal land. Though it was ‘in the middle of nowhere,’ it meant such a great deal to many people. In 1983, when a World War I veteran lay on his deathbed, he asked his best friend, Henry Sandoz, to take care of the cross. And that’s exactly what Henry faithfully did every year after his friend’s death.
Henry was in his seventies by the time Frank Buono, helped by the American Civil Liberties Union, filed a lawsuit claiming that this lovingly maintained old cross unconstitutionally promoted the Christian faith. As the case bounced from one court to another, the cross was enclosed with plywood, covered like an adult magazine in the back of a bookstore. Over the course of the court battle, which went all the way to the Supreme Court, it was even stolen. Finally, after eight long years of battling, the cross was able to remain on the land by transferring the property surrounding it to a private citizen.
Though the Mojave Desert cross was saved, the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial cross in San Diego was not, even though in 2004, Congress, as Palin noted, “passed a law protecting its right to exist as a national memorial to the brave men and women in uniform ‘who sacrificed their lives in the defense of the United States.'”
“But apparently even Congress can’t stop angry atheists armed with attorneys. As I’ve said repeatedly in interviews about ‘Good Tidings and Great Joy,’ the so-called ‘war on Christmas’ is just the tip-of-the-spear in the larger efforts to strip God from the public square and banish all expressions of faith from public life,” she wrote.
Palin has consistently stood up against the “PC police.” On Thursday, hours after Palin told Breitbart Sports that she was disappointed that ESPN had rejected a commercial from a Catholic hospital because the station found the words “God” and “Jesus” to be “problematic,” ESPN reversed course and accepted the original ad, which it will air on Saturday.
Palin also posted a statement from the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) that said the decision was “deeply flawed” because the “federal court decision declaring the memorial unconstitutional and ordering its removal does not square with the facts” and the “memorial is part of the historic landscape of San Diego and is consistent with the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.”
The ACLJ has “promised to file an amicus brief in support of an expected appeal to keep the memorial – which includes a commemorative cross – in place.”
“We will continue to aggressively argue in support of this memorial and commemorative cross,” ACLJ President Jay Sekulow said. “We believe the law and precedent are clear: the Supreme Court has concluded in the past that ‘a Latin cross is not merely a reaffirmation of Christian beliefs. It is a symbol often used to honor and respect those whose heroic acts, noble contributions, and patient striving help secure an honored place in history for this Nation and its people.'”
Sekulow added that “this memorial should not create a constitutional crisis. It is part of the history and heritage of the San Diego area.”