*A cross perched atop San Diego’s Mount Soledad for nearly a century is unconstitutional and must be removed, according to a federal court ruling Tuesday.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected arguments that the 43-foot cross should be preserved as a war memorial, ruling that it violated the California Constitution’s “no preference” clause by elevating one religion over all others.
“The use of such a distinctively Christian symbol to honor all veterans sends a strong message of endorsement and exclusion,” said the court in its decision. “It suggests that the government is so connected to a particular religion that it treats the religion’s symbolism as its own, as universal. To many non-Christian veterans, this claim of universality is alienating.”
The court also noted that the site had been used for purposes other than those of honoring fallen soldiers. For many years, Mount Soledad has been a destination for Easter services, and had been listed on maps until the late 1980s as the “Mount Soledad Easter Cross.”
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