Second Camp Pendleton Memorial Cross on Hold
The as-yet undecided case of the Camp Pendleton cross, a memorial facing complaints by atheists, has actually impacted a second, unrelated cross. LCpl Benjamin Whetstone Schmidt was killed in Afghanistan by friendly fire, and members of his platoon had apparently planned to erect a cross on an overlooking hill on Camp Pendleton:
But because of a pending military review of placement of religious symbols, the parents of Lance Cpl. Benjamin Whetstone Schmidt learned when visiting Camp Pendleton, Calif., two weeks ago that a 10-foot cross his buddies made could not be planted on Old Smokey, a mountain with a view of the Pacific Ocean.
The visit two weeks ago apparently included the long-planned trip to the mountain top to erect the cross, “but the base canceled the event.”
A Camp Pendleton spokeswoman confirmed there is a ban on placement of religious symbols until a decision is made on the existing cross and a policy on future memorials.
The article says Old Smokey is a place of reflection that already hosts “several crosses” that are “4-5 feet high.”
Jason Torpy, the man behind the complaints, said the family shouldn’t blame him.