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Mar 29 2012

Obama Supports Mt. Soledad Cross

In a move that doesn’t surprise me at all, the anti-Christian secret Muslim commie pinko President Obama has filed a brief asking the Supreme Court to overturn a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision against a giant cross on public land in Southern California.

The Obama administration is asking the Supreme Court to allow a 43-foot-tall cross that serves as a war memorial to remain atop Mount Soledad near San Diego, arguing the cross that has been there since 1954 is not an endorsement of religion.

The government should not be required “to tear down a cross that has stood without incident for 58 years as a highly venerated memorial to the nation’s fallen service members,” Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. said in a new appeal to the high court.

He urged the justices to reverse a decision of the 9th U.S. Circuit of Appeals that last year held the cross was primarily a Christian symbol and unconstitutional. Its prominent display on public land in La Jolla amounted to an official “endorsement of religion” in violation of the First Amendment, the judges said in a 3-0 ruling…

If the Supreme Court were to deny the appeal, Verrilli said the cross would have to be taken down. Such an act “unnecessarily fosters the very divisiveness” over religion that the Constitution was designed to avoid, he said.

Never mind that the whole “war memorial” excuse was invented after the placement of the cross was challenged. Prior to that, it was a place where Christians held services.

34 comments

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  1. 1
    Chiroptera

    If the Supreme Court were to deny the appeal, Verrilli said the cross would have to be taken down. Such an act “unnecessarily fosters the very divisiveness” over religion that the Constitution was designed to avoid, he said.

    Except the “divisiveness” is already present. There wouldn’t have been a court suit otherwise.

  2. 2
    Bronze Dog

    If the Supreme Court were to deny the appeal, Verrilli said the cross would have to be taken down. Such an act “unnecessarily fosters the very divisiveness” over religion that the Constitution was designed to avoid, he said.

    It’s been divisive for all the years it’s been up. The only “problem” is that secular people aren’t being intimidated into silence about it, anymore.

    Verrilli and his fundie friends are just angry that one of their unearned, unconstitutional, and unfair privileges is being properly revoked, and venting their frustration on the people who dared to have moral integrity.

  3. 3
    a miasma of incandescent plasma

    the cross would have to be taken down. Such an act “unnecessarily fosters the very divisiveness” over religion that the Constitution was designed to avoid, he said.

    That happened when it was put up.

    People divide over issues all the time, what we should be concerned about is if our actions are consistent with the constitution.

  4. 4
    Tualha

    Wow, he’s a really crafty anti-Christian secret Muslim commie pinko, isn’t he? But I’m sure the brave protectors of our Christian Nation (amen) will see through his diabolical misdirection. If they can spare the time while dodging secret government assassination attempts like the one that got Andrew Breitbart. Still, Breitbart’s the only one they managed to get so far, so clearly, the assassins aren’t very competent. But of course! After all, they work for the government, that cesspool of inefficiency and ineptitude. The right wing cannot lose.

  5. 5
    Jordan Genso

    What happens if the Supreme Court decides to hear the case and upholds the ruling from the 9th Circuit? Are there benefits in that scenario that could justify wanting it to go to the Supreme Court in hopes that is what occurs?

  6. 6
    Gregory in Seattle

    Because the government maintenance of religious holy symbols on government owned land is not an endorsement of religion.

    (Insert facepalm here.)

  7. 7
    Randomfactor

    That PROVES he’s a sekrit mooslim, right? Because, he has to keep up appearances.

  8. 8
    jamessweet

    the anti-Christian secret Muslim commie pinko President Obama

    Muslim atheist, Ed. We know this thanks to Newt Gingrich’s fantastic investigative work.

  9. 9
    John Hinkle

    They meant to file that brief on April 1.

  10. 10
    zippythepinhead

    It’s obviously part of his secret plan to destroy religious rights during his second term.

  11. 11
    Ophelia Benson

    So the SG simply tells a lie in the brief. Nice.

    Grrrrrrrr.

  12. 12
    Akira MacKenzie

    Here that atheists? That’s sound is the oncoming bus that our “progressive,” “liberal” president who promised us “change” has thrown us under (right next to the homosexuals and civil libertarians).

    Why is it do important to reelect this capitalist-Christan whore when he is no fucking better than any of the Rethuglican candidates?

  13. 13
    Akira MacKenzie

    Edit: Hear that…

  14. 14
    Bronze Dog

    Why is it do important to reelect this capitalist-Christan whore when he is no fucking better than any of the Rethuglican candidates?

    I’d say he’s marginally better, but I do agree with your general point. I probably won’t be voting for him in November, but since I live in Texas, it won’t matter since the state as a whole will probably be voting for the more blatantly crazy competition. I think I can afford to throw my vote away on an unlikely third party candidate or rogue Democrat.

    The rest of you might still need to worry about whether the two party system is going to interpret an Obama vote from you as a desperate vote for the lesser of two evils or as a happy endorsement of Obama.

  15. 15
    embraceyourinnercrone

    And it’s times like this that I am tempted to vote Cthulu/Voldemort (why go for the lesser evil?) It would be divisive to take down a religious symbol on government property that should have never been put up in the first place!!??! I was on active duty for 20 years and this is not the first time this has been fought, when I was still in Hawaii it was the 65ft brightly lit cross on Camp Smith Marine Base:

    In the case of the Jewish War Veterans vs The United States in 1988, decided by Judge Thomas F. Hogan –

    Judge Hogan rejected Justice Department arguments that the Camp Smith cross is a nonreligious symbol for dead or missing Vietnam soldiers.

    “On August 30, 1988, in the case of Jewish War Veterans v. United States, testing the legality of a Latin cross on a U.S. Marine Corps base in Hawaii, a Federal district court judge ruled that placement of the cross and governmental support thereof violated First Amendment guarantees of the separation of church and state and is therefore unconstitutional. The judge said that the cross “is too laden with religious meaning to be appropriate for a government memorial assertedly free of any religious message.” As the legality of menorahs, crèches, and crosses on public property or with public support continues to be tested in the courts, the decision in JWV v. USA is another in the chain of recent signals that Federal judges around the country in large measure view religious symbols standing alone on public property as unconstitutional.”

  16. 16
    anathema

    Never mind that the whole “war memorial” excuse was invented after the placement of the cross was challenged. Prior to that, it was a place where Christians held services.

    I live in the area and went up to Mt. Soledad to watch the sunrise on New Year’s Day. There were Christians holding a worship service there. I presume it was the congregation from a nearby church, given how many of them there were. (And that they brought Communion wine and wafers.)

    I guess they just haven’t gotten the memo that it’s a war memorial now.

  17. 17
    eric

    If the Supreme Court were to deny the appeal, Verrilli said the cross would have to be taken down. Such an act “unnecessarily fosters the very divisiveness” over religion that the Constitution was designed to avoid, he said.

    Yes, sometimes obeying the constitution creates divisiveness. You still do it.

    Wasn’t Verrilli’s argument the same one used by racists in the ’50s and ’60s to oppose school integration? ‘Oh noes, there will be riots and unhappy citizens if you let those blacks in our schoools!’ Bad argument then, bad argument now.

  18. 18
    Modusoperandi

    Akira MacKenzie “Why is it do important to reelect this capitalist-Christan whore when he is no fucking better than any of the Rethuglican candidates?”
    Exactly. He’s no better. That’s why he’s invading Iran, turning Medicare into a voucher program, cutting Medicaid and passing it to the states as a block grant, gutting Title X, and reigniting the Cold War.
    No. Wait. That can’t be right (except, perhaps, for the first one. *fingers crossed*). They aren’t the same. Obama is a disappointment. The GOP candidates are a disaster.

  19. 19
    lancifer

    Modusoperandi,

    They aren’t the same. Obama is a disappointment. The GOP candidates are a disaster.

    All true but “disappointment” is a huge understatement.

    I am hoping to find a good third party candidate. Obama has not earned my second vote.

    I’m not much for voting for the lesser of two evils. How do I vote for a man that has continued the assault on the constitution that Bush began and won’t even stand on the constitutionally correct side of this issue?

    Fuck him.

  20. 20
    Marcus Ranum

    I’m not much for voting for the lesser of two evils.

    Indeed, it’s immoral to vote for Obama. Unless you approve of our program of international assassination and our military intervention in Libya. A vote for Obama is a vote for illegal carnage. The fact that a vote for the republicans is certainly worse doesn’t lessen the moral burden one should feel if they vote for a war criminal, killer.

  21. 21
    Gregory in Seattle

    @Akira MacKenzie #12 – I would say that Obama is better than any of the Republican alternatives, in approximately the same way that having both legs broken is better than having both legs and both arms broken.

    I just hope that, someday, I will have the opportunity to vote for a good candidate, and not merely the least evil of the bunch.

  22. 22
    Chiroptera

    eric, #17: Wasn’t Verrilli’s argument the same one used by racists in the ’50s and ’60s to oppose school integration?

    Christofascists: Exactly!

    P.S. I’m not accusing Verrilli of racism, just those that are being pandered to by his and the Obama Administrations decision here.

  23. 23
    Michael Heath

    lancifer:

    All true but “disappointment” is a huge understatement.

    IMO he’s as good as I hoped for in most areas, and a big disappointment on some matters I consider relatively trivial. In spite of my being a strict separationist. I think on secular matters we’re making progress though it’s five steps forward and three steps back. Where the president, from a net perspective, is moving this plank forward.

  24. 24
    tomh

    when he is no fucking better than any of the Rethuglican candidates

    Really? No different? I guess I missed where Obama wants to reverse Roe v. Wade and will appoint Supreme Court justices to do so, as Romney has promised to do. Or bring ID into science classes as Santorum has promised (a few appontments would do it.) Or gut Medicare and social programs as Romney will do – he supports the Ryan budget plan. Not to mention giving up on any climate change legislation, since every GOP candidate denies there is any such thing. Or innumerable other issues where Obama differs from the GOP candidates.

    As for all the principled third party voters, we saw how well that worked out in the 2000 election, when 97,000 Nader voters in Florida caused George Bush to win the state by 537 votes, and therefore the presidency. Thanks a lot. I guess there was no difference between Bush and Gore, either. With what looks like a close election coming up, you’ll have a chance to do it again.

  25. 25
    Chris from Europe

    Not voting for Obama is a vote for worse (if it matters, of course). Voting for the lesser evil is the voting system used in the United States. It’s no like you have a real choice.

  26. 26
    timberwoof

    In San Francisco, there’s an even bigger cross atop Mt. Davidson: http://g.co/maps/rmbsx

    It used to be on city land until someone raised a ruckus. The city sold the land to some Armenians who rededicated it as a memorial to the Armenian Genocide of WWI.

    Maybe they can do the same sort of thing at Mt. Soledad? http://g.co/maps/jnze5

    So what would happen if some old church were placed on a register of historic places, and a municipality bought it and restored it as a cultural important thing? As long as it was available for general use and not just as a church … is there harm in that?

  27. 27
    Stacy

    Voting for the lesser evil is the voting system used in the United States.

    Exactly.

    If you want to change that, you need to work to change our simple plurality voting system. Which you should totes do. In the meantime, a vote for a third party candidate is effectively a vote for whomever you least want.

    The President’s most important and long-lasting power is hir appointment of Supreme Court judges. Think of that, Obama-haters, and hold your noses.

  28. 28
    llewelly

    Off topic:

    Security expert Bruce Schneier has been debating the value of the TSA with Kip Hawley over at the Economist. In his closing argument, he argumes it ought to be abolished:

    The current TSA measures create an even greater harm: loss of liberty. Airports are effectively rights-free zones. Security officers have enormous power over you as a passenger. You have limited rights to refuse a search. Your possessions can be confiscated. You cannot make jokes, or wear clothing, that airport security does not approve of. You cannot travel anonymously. (Remember when we would mock Soviet-style “show me your papers” societies? That we’ve become inured to the very practice is a harm.) And if you’re on a certain secret list, you cannot fly, and you enter a Kafkaesque world where you cannot face your accuser, protest your innocence, clear your name, or even get confirmation from the government that someone, somewhere, has judged you guilty. These police powers would be illegal anywhere but in an airport, and we are all harmed—individually and collectively—by their existence.

    http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2012/03/harms_of_post-9.html

    Since this blog is often about civil rights issues, I think most readers here should be interested.

  29. 29
    M can help you with that.

    Chris @ 25 –

    Not voting for Obama is a vote for worse (if it matters, of course).

    Translation:

    “If Obama loses, all his groupies will blame the loss on people who voted for someone who isn’t a center-right candidate in the states that Obama won. It’s just like the 2000 election: people who voted for Nader in California were more to blame for Bush getting into office than the Supreme Court, the Democrats who supported stopping the vote count, or anyone (Dems and Repubs alike) who supported a deliberately misleading ballot. Remember: nothing the Democrats do can ever contribute to an electoral loss, but anything that someone on the left does is obviously to blame for any loss the Democrats suffer, even if that action had no impact.”

  30. 30
    Chris from Europe

    Translation

    No, that’s called strawman.

  31. 31
    Ryan

    Well you can compare Obama to the republicans now, precisely because he’s in power and they are not. Make no mistake, no matter how much you feel disappointed by Obama you’re probably going to feel much, much worse with a republican president. I’m hardly a huge fan of Obama, but frankly with current political climate in Washington, I don’t see how much better he could have been. The polarization has got so bad that it’s virtually impossible to pass any legislation. The right wing just veto anything on principle.

  32. 32
    Cliff Hendroval

    Did any of you expect any different going into an election season?

  33. 33
    leonardschneider

    But… But… If they take down the Soledad cross, what will all the party gladiators from Clairmont, University City, and Mira Mesa have to lean against while they puke up watery beer?

    @ Timberwoof (#26): Yeah, the city could do that… But the glorified military tank-town known as ‘San Diego’ is run by avarice-driven swine, who are probably pissing themselves with joy at the idea of the cross getting pulled down: that’s some damn expensive real estate. If it happens, there will be a huge banner advertising “Luxury Town Homes Coming Soon!” hanging on the east side of the hill (so’s to be visible from I-5 and Highway 52) within weeks.

    (Go ahead, guess what city I grew up in, and would never move back to. Twenty-one years was a long sentence to serve.)

  34. 34
    mauriletremblay

    I grew up near the Mt. Soledad cross. The church my family went to was just a few blocks from there, as was my elementary school. I don’t remember services being held at the cross (which doesn’t mean it never happened). But it’s absolutely true that there was nothing war memorialish about it back then. It was just a big cross (inside an iron-bar fence) on top of a hill. People would go there during the day for the view, and people would go there at night to park and make out. There was no evidence that it had anything at all to do with commemorating American soldiers.

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