[Henry] Sandoz, 73, has cared for the memorial [the Mojave Memorial Cross] as a promise to World War I veteran, Riley Bembry, who with other shell-shocked vets went to the desert to help heal and erected a wooden cross on Sunrise Rock in 1934. It was later replaced with a cross made of steel pipes. Then Sunrise Rock became part of the Mojave National Preserve in 1994, putting the Christian symbol on public land. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in 2001 on behalf of a retired Park Service employee who argued the cross was unconstitutional on government property because of the separation of church and state, and federal courts ordered it removed. Congress stepped in and ordered the land swap in 2003, but the courts rejected the transfer. The issue made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which in April 2010 refused to order the cross removed. The high court directed a federal judge to review the congressional land transfer plan. The decision was the latest on the issue by a Supreme Court that has signaled a greater willingness to allow religious symbols on public land amid a number of legal challenges in recent years by civil liberty activists and atheists.
My two cents
I like the last sentence about a greater willingness by the Supreme Court for religious symbols on public land. I don’t know if the journalist has been able to quantify this type of conclusion, but in either case I hope it’s true. I want the court’s willingness to keep growing into an avalanche that crushes all humanistic obstacles in its path.
And sometimes I wonder if the Average Joe has no idea about the Mojave National Preserve’s existence, but at least people are well aware of the cross and its important religious significance.
Watson, J. (2012). Mojave Cross Starts New Life On Veterans Day With Dedication Ceremony. Available: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/12/mojave-cross-starts-new-l_n_2117332.html?view=print&comm_ref=false. Last accessed 26th Dec 2012.