SAN DIEGO, (AP) — An atheist who waged a 17-year legal battle to remove a giant cross from public land in San Diego won’t live to see the outcome.
Philip Paulson died Wednesday of liver cancer. He was 59.
Paulson was a Vietnam veteran who said he lost his faith during that bloody conflict. He sued San Diego in 1989 over a 29-foot-cross on Mount Soledad.
Paulson said it violated the separation of church and state. He won but the case is still on appeal.
Another lawsuit is pending because the city recently transferred the cross to the federal government as a national memorial in an effort to keep it from being removed.
Paulson’s legal struggle earned him death threats but he denied he was opposed to Christianity.
He told the San Diego Union-Tribune that the issue was religious freedom and neutrality.
Philip Paulson, dead at 59.