Category: Church and State

U.S. Govt Gets Giant Cross in San Diego

President Bush’s Signature Transfers Disputed San Diego Cross to Federal Government WASHINGTON Aug 14, 2006 (AP)— A giant cross in San Diego that’s been contested for 17 years by an atheist became the property of the federal government Monday with President Bush’s signature. Supporters hope the legislation transferring the 29-foot cross and war memorial it’s a part of to the federal government will protect it for good. A series of court decisions have deemed the cross unconstitutional because it stands on public property. “Just because something may have a religious connotation doesn’t mean you destroy it and tear it down,”

U.S. Senate votes to acquire disputed San Diego cross

SAN DIEGO, (AP) — The U.S. Senate voted by unanimous consent Tuesday to acquire a concrete cross in San Diego and the municipal park around it to protect the embattled monument from being taken down. The 29-foot-tall cross has been the target of a 17-year court battle between an atheist and San Diego, which owns the hilltop property where the monument stands. A federal judge ruled in May that because it stands on city land, the cross violates a state constitutional prohibition on the governmental endorsement of any one religion. Federal ownership would make the existing lawsuit moot and might

San Diego Cross Becomes Legal Test Case

PDT SAN DIEGO, (AP) — Ronald Reagan had just left office, the Christian Coalition was new, “values” had yet to become a buzzword of American politics and six of the current U.S. Supreme Court justices had other jobs when an atheist sued the city of San Diego for permitting a giant cross in a public park. Seventeen years later, the 29-foot concrete monument still crowns a hill over the Pacific, defended by the city’s voters and members of Congress. Now the Supreme Court has stepped in, and the case of the Mount Soledad cross could help determine under what circumstances

High Court Intervenes in Fight Over Cross

The Supreme Court intervened Monday to stop, at least for now, the removal of a large cross from city property in southern California. A lower court judge had ordered the city of San Diego to remove the cross or be fined $5,000 a day. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, acting for the high court, issued a stay while supporters of the cross continue their legal fight. Lawyers for San Diegans for the Mount Soledad National War Memorial said in an appeal that they wanted to avoid the “destruction of this national treasure.” And attorneys for the city said the cross was

City sued to stop payment to Baptist group

Funds are for an anti-hunger program to be conducted by a local organization preceding national convention A national watchdog group that guards against government involvement in religion has asked a federal judge to stop the city from giving $297,500 in public funds to an anti-hunger program to be conducted by local Baptists in advance of their national conference here next week. But the United Baptist Missionary Convention of Maryland, the group planning to distribute bag lunches to more than 1,000 people at area shelters and missions Saturday, says that Americans United for Separation of Church and State has based its

Judge turns down atheist’s suit challenging ‘In God We Trust’

SACRAMENTO, (AP) — A federal judge on Monday rejected a lawsuit from an atheist who said having the phrase “In God We Trust” on U.S. coins and dollar bills violated his First Amendment rights. U.S. District Judge Frank C. Damrell Jr. said the minted words amounted to a secular national slogan that did not trample on Michael Newdow‘s avowed religious views. “There is no proper allegation that the government compelled plaintiff to affirm a repugnant belief in monotheism,” Damrell said in dismissing the suit. Newdow, a Sacramento doctor and lawyer, also is engaged in an ongoing effort to have the

White House: Soledad cross plan faces serious legal obstacles

WASHINGTON – While White House officials appear sympathetic to Mayor Jerry Sanders’ request to use eminent domain powers to prevent a court-ordered removal of the Mount Soledad cross, President Bush’s lawyers indicated Monday that such a move would be legally tricky, Sanders said. Sanders, who is back in the nation’s capital for the third time in two months, participated in a 40-minute lunchtime meeting with Ruben Barrales, Bush’s director for intergovernmental affairs, as well as White House lawyers and policy staffers, about how to put Mount Soledad into federal hands to preserve the white cross that towers over the La

San Diego City Council votes to appeal cross ruling

SAN DIEGO – The San Diego City Council has voted to continue fighting a 17-year legal battle to save a giant cross standing on city property. A federal judge has ordered the cash-strapped city to remove the cross from public land by Aug. 1 or face daily $5,000 fines. The city has until June 2 to file an appeal for a stay. San Diego’s chief operating officer, Ronne Froman, said that an appeal would give officials more time to explore options for preserving the cross. The council voted 5-3 Tuesday to approve the appeal. San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders met