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Mt. Soledad Cross Controversy Ends when Government Sells Land

Amanda Casanova | Contributor | Thursday, July 23, 2015

Mt. Soledad Cross Controversy Ends when Government Sells Land

The U.S. Department of Defense has sold the government land on which the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial cross has been standing.

"Today's actions will ensure that the memorial will continue to stand in honor of our veterans for decades to come,” said Liberty Institute attorney Hiram Sasser in a statement. “This is a great victory for the veterans who originally placed this memorial and the Korean War veterans the memorial honors.”

Judges have argued over whether the cross promoted Christianity. In 2011, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said the cross was a “distinctively Christian symbol” and the memorial was unconstitutional. 

The U.S. Supreme Court, however, said the cross was a “war memorial,” and Justice Antonin Scalia said it was “outrageous” that the cross only honored dead Christian veterans.

The sale of the land will end the controversy. The Mt. Soledad Memorial Association paid $1.4 million for the memorial’s half-acre of land.

“We look forward to continuing to partner with the City of San Diego, our county, and our military community,” said Bruce Bailey, president and CEO of the MSMA’s board. “It marks the first time where our membership can manage the memorial’s affairs from a place of ownership and accountability for the property, which is a new and welcomed step for the association.”

Christianity Today reports the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial cross was contructed in 1954 to honor 4,000 veterans. It was first owned by San Diego and then sold to a veteran’s group, but a court ruled the sale was unconstitutional, and the sale was only meant to keep the memorial standing. In 2006, the federal government acquired the land through eminent domain.

Publication date: July 23, 2015