Wednesday, May 26, 2004
Anti-Christian Liberals Union: For a couple of decades now, the ACLU and various local athiests have been on a (pardon the pun) crusade to remove crosses from public land. One of the first cases was of the cross atop Mt. Helix in La Mesa. The city of La Mesa managed to wrangle out of the ACLU's hold by selling off the land immediately surrounding the cross (which had been given to the city decades before) to a nonprofit group. Of course, the cross is the most recognizable and unique part of La Mesa history, and an image of Mt. Helix and its cross figured prominently in the city's seal. No more. Another lawsuit and a judge with an increasingly mainstream legal theory that the First Amendment prohibition against state-sponsored religion means that the state cannot acknowledge that religion (specifically Christianity) exists.
Well, the ACLU is now going after Los Angeles County.
At issue is the seal designed by the late Supervisor Kenneth Hahn that contains a tiny cross symbolic of the Catholic missions that are so much a part of the county's history.
In a letter to the supervisors, ACLU Executive Director Ramona Ripston says the cross is unconstitutional and has given them two weeks to act.
Antonovich responded with an irate letter that accused her of trying to rewrite history.
"Rewriting our historical roots is, to use an analogy, like eating a sandwich wrapped in a paper bag — it loses its taste," Antonovich wrote.
The genesis of the spat began with a controversy about the city seal of Redlands, which contained a cross. Last February, two Redlands residents complained to the ACLU that the cross was a religious symbol. ACLU lawyer Ben Wizner wrote to the city that the U.S. Supreme Court had declared such symbols on government logos and seals unconstitutional.
Redlands capitulated when faced with a lawsuit and ordered the cross removed from every city logo.
The ACLU then got calls that pointed out that the Los Angeles County seal also contained a cross.
This is the seal:
The cross can be found (if you look closely) in the middle panel on the right.
But take a deep breath and consider which image on that seal is dominant. The large woman in the middle is goddess Pomona -- the goddess of gardens and fruit trees.
The ACLU isn't complaining about her presence on the seal. Nope, ignore the big pagan goddess in the middle and focus on the tiny little cross.
Will a sane judge toss an ACLU lawsuit out? Don't hold your breath. (via Volokh)