Pentagon to Rule on Camp Pendleton Cross

The issue of the legality of the Camp Pendleton cross was elevated to higher headquarters, according to a local article.

A group of reporters was allowed to make the trek to see the memorial upon which the controversy was based.  To his credit, Mark Walker of the North County Times accurately gave some depth to the content of the memorial:

The site is home to numerous mementos, as well as the crosses, neither of which is visible from nearby Interstate 5.

Each is surrounded by thousands of rocks carried up by Marines from sea level at Camp Horno as a homage to troops killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. Many of those rocks have hand-scrawled messages of love and remembrance.

There are dozens of bottles of booze, most unopened, representing a dead Marine’s favorite drink.

There’s a football, a still-working watch, pictures of fallen Marines and numerous ID tags from those who didn’t make it back alive.

Rosaries, pairs of boots, cigarette packs and lighters also have been left by troops who take the steepest possible route up the hill.

Jason Torpy of his Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers says it can all stay — except the cross.  He has previously criticized the cross, and Congressman Hunter has defended it.

Apparently members of the US military can be honored with booze and cigarettes, but not a cross.  Torpy would have the US government restrict conduct based on a connotation of religious belief.

Somehow that doesn’t seem consistent with the US Constitution’s protections of religious liberty.

A gallery of photos of the cross can be seen here.

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