Mojave Cross Returns to Hilltop, Critics Stew

As previously noted, about 100 people attended a dedication of the new memorial cross in the Mojave National Preserve, erected after a decade-long battle led by the ACLU failed to have it permanently torn down.

“Judges and lawyers may have played their roles, but it was the veterans who earned this memorial, and it is for them it rises once more,” The Associated Press quoted attorney Hiram Sasser of the Texas-based Liberty Institute as saying.

Don Byrd, writing for the Baptist Joint Committee (whose purpose is ostensibly to “defend[] the first freedom of the First Amendment”) said allowing religious symbols to remain on public display was “disturbing.”  He also expressed a belief that taxpayers experiencing difficulty challenging such displays was a “dangerous” trend.

To be clear, Byrd is essentially saying it is “dangerous” to prevent a heckler’s veto from bringing down a 7-foot tall, pipe-built cross erected by private citizens, now residing on private land, and maintained by a private veterans group.

Byrd might want to do a little more reading of the First Amendment thing.  When he gets done, he could try to educate his apparent sometime ally Michael Weinstein, who supported the ACLU’s effort to bring down the World War I memorial.

A neutral position requires neither creation nor destruction.  Contrary to some asinine claims, allowing the cross to stand does not violate the US Constitution.

However, as soon as a government policy requires a memorial to have a religious symbol (because of religion), or requires a memorial to be torn down because of a religious symbol, then the government position is no longer neutral — and the Constitutionally-protected human liberty of religious freedom might have something to say about that.

Also at the Baptist Press.

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