AU Joins MAAF against Camp Pendleton Cross…Sort of

Ian Smith of the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State has written a letter to Camp Pendleton’s commander joining Jason Torpy in his calls to have the memorial cross removed.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State has written to base commander Col. Nick Marano, saying the cross’s establishment on government property represents an unconstitutional endorsement of the Christian religion.

Ironically, or ignorantly, Smith undermines his own message: 

Smith goes on to say that his group believes it would be lawful for the base to create a memorial where troops and their families inscribe personal messages or symbols of their own choice to commemorate those killed in war.

“If the government designated the monument as a public forum and treated all messages equally, then it would be permissible for soldiers to include religious symbols without running afoul of the Constitution,” Smith said. “But a single cross is not such a monument and therefore cannot be saved.”

As has been noted since the day the “controversy” started, the memorial already is a place where “troops and their families inscribe personal messages” and leave memorials of their own.  There is no evidence to assert the military has done anything but “treat[] all messages equally.”  Even the article notes that:

In addition to the cross, a number of other memorial artifacts to troops lost in battle adorn the site.

Apparently, then, the AU doesn’t have a problem with the Camp Pendleton memorial.  They just have a problem with what they thought it was.  They misfired in their outrage.