Share this story
Close X
Switch to Desktop Site

Opponents weigh in on Supreme Court Mojave cross decision

Veterans groups say the Mojave cross was no different from other war memorials with religious imagery. Opponents of the Supreme Court decision vow to fight on.

Sgt. James Kelly (l.) and Sgt. Zachary Thomson read the names of 28 slain veterans at the Mojave Desert Memorial in this Sept. 17, 2009, file photo. They traveled 1,500 miles from Louisiana while on leave from Iraq in order to pay tribute to slain veterans. A legal challenge questioned whether the cross – a religious symbol – could be on federal land. The Supreme Court ruled in the case Wednesday.


About these ads

Supporters of an eight-foot-tall cross on a hilltop in the Mojave Desert are hailing a US Supreme Court decision to overturn a lower court order that the cross must be removed from federal land because it violated the separation of church and state.

The high court on Wednesday in a 5-to-4 decision instructed the district court to reexamine the issue, including a land-swap authorized by Congress that would convert the land around and under the cross to private property.

The federal judge had earlier rejected that possible legislative solution as an illicit attempt to evade a court order.

“We applaud the Supreme Court for overruling the decisions below, but this battle is not over,” said Kelly Shackelford, president of Liberty Counsel, an advocacy group that is representing the Veterans of Foreign Wars and other military service organizations seeking to keep the cross in its present location.

The cross was erected in 1934 on federal land in the Mojave National Preserve. It was built and maintained by private veterans groups as a memorial to fallen service members in World War I.

A win for war memorials with religious imagery

After a legal challenge, a federal judge ruled that a cross on public land violated the First Amendment’s prohibition of government endorsement of religion. He ordered the cross removed. An appeals court agreed.


Page:   1   |   2   |   3

Follow Stories Like This
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.