Mojave Cross Dedication this Weekend, Stolen One Found
The Mojave Cross on Sunrise Rock in the remote Mojave National Preserve will finally be re-erected in a Veterans’ Day ceremony this weekend.
The cross had become the focus of a legal case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union in 2000. The ACLU sued the federal government, asking that the cross be removed because the Christian symbol on federal land violated the First Amendment, prohibiting the government from endorsing any religion…
In 2002, the U.S. District Court Central District of California ruled in the ACLU’s favor and the cross was encased in wood until an agreement could be reached.
In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned previous the ruling calling for the cross to be removed and sent the case back down to the U.S. District Court level.
After they won, the cross was suddenly stolen. A temporary replacement was pulled down by authorities, despite the fact it was technically legal. A California paper reports the land-swap deal that made much of the case moot (as the cross no longer sits on government land) was finalized just this week.
Meanwhile, in an interesting bit of timing, the original stolen cross has been found:
The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Department was notified Monday that a large cross was tied to a fence post in Half Moon Bay. An attached note asked finders to contact authorities.
KGO-TV says the National Park Service confirmed it’s the same cross that vanished from Sunrise Rock in the Mojave Desert.
The long fight against this war memorial — a fight led by the ACLU (and supported by Michael Weinstein and his MRFF) — has finally ended.