Liberty Institute Files Cert Petition with U.S. Supreme Court to Save Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial Cross; Re-launches "Don't Tear Me Down" Campaign at Rally
SAN DIEGO, Feb. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, Liberty Institute filed a cert petition with the U.S. Supreme Court asking the High Court to overturn the Ninth Circuit ruling that the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial Cross is unconstitutional.
At a rally today beneath the shadow of the 29-ft-tall Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial Cross, decorated war veterans and concerned citizens gave tribute to the almost 58-year-old San Diego landmark, which for the last 22 years has been the target of the ACLU and atheists groups who want to tear it down.
"We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will say what they said about the Mojave Memorial Cross, 'This cross should stand!'" said Kelly Shackelford, Liberty Institute's CEO/President. "Let's put an end to these attacks on memorials that bring pain to veterans, and go back to celebrating and respecting what these soldiers have done for our country."
Among the more than 100 attendees, Liberty Institute attorneys offered details of the memorial's lengthy legal battle that led to today's appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. This case may determine the fate of all memorials that include religious imagery and sit on public land.
William J. Kellogg, chairman and CEO of the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association (MSMA) that oversees and maintains the memorial today, said, "Why shouldn't there be a memorial cross in San Diego to honor veterans from all wars and conflicts? This is a military city whose veterans deserve to be remembered."
In 1954, the San Diego-based MSMA in conjunction with American Legion Post 275 erected the cross that sits as the centerpiece of the memorial, which also includes six concentric walls containing more than 3,000 personalized plaques honoring veterans of many wars and walks of life.
During the rally, Liberty Institute officially re-launched its "Don't Tear Me Down" campaign. Singer-songwriter Jon Christopher Davis sang the National Anthem and performed his song by the same name, "Don't Tear Me Down," which gave voice to the movement to protect endangered veterans memorials containing religious imagery. The proceeds from downloads of the song on I-tunes will help Liberty Institute pay for the fight to protect veterans memorials that contain religious imagery.
Col. David Epstein, a retired Jewish veteran who served in the U.S. Army and a current member of the Jewish War Veterans, concluded, "This cross does not exclude people like me. Somebody in Washington [Jewish War Veteran] joined with the ACLU. This decision does not represent all Jewish War Veterans. Support this monument. IT doesn't exclude anybody."
Background of the Mt. Soledad Cross Legal Battle
The Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial has been the center of a legal battle since 1989. In 2005, 76 percent of San Diegans voted in favor of giving the memorial to the federal government, and in 2006, the federal government acquired the memorial to preserve it as a national landmark honoring veterans of the United States Armed forces. The appeal comes after the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the federal district court, holding the memorial cross unconstitutional. While the Ninth Circuit denied requests to have the full court rehear the case, five judges dissented from that denial. Liberty Institute represented 4 million veterans at The Supreme Court in the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial Case, which the high court stated should stand. The organization is also defending the Big Mountain Jesus Veterans Memorial, another veterans monument on public land targeted for destruction by atheist groups. Read more here.
SOURCE Liberty Institute