Search  |  Login  |  Register

Mojave Cross War Memorial Will Stand

By Matthew Clark1335379666000

A cross that was first erected nearly 80 years ago by the Veterans of Foreign Wars in honor of the heroes of World War I will finally be allowed to stand.

More than a decade after the ACLU originally sued to have the cross memorial removed from public land, a case which ended up at the Supreme Court, a federal judge has approved a settlement of the case allowing the cross to remain.

The ACLJ has been fighting to allow this cross to stand for years - an important war memorial in honor of those who have heroically served in our armed forces.

We filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court on behalf of 15 Members of Congress defending the cross. In 2010, the Supreme Court reversed the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision that ordered the removal of the cross and remanded the case to the trial court for further consideration.

Justice Kennedy wrote that "a Latin cross is not merely a reaffirmation of Christian beliefs. It is a symbol often used to honor and respect those whose heroic acts, noble contributions, and patient striving help secure an honored place in history for this Nation and its people." He further stated that the Mojave Desert cross "evokes thousands of small crosses in foreign fields marking the graves of Americans who fell in battles, battles whose tragedies are compounded if the fallen are forgotten."

You can read the ACLJ's analysis of the case here.

Since the Supreme Court handed down its decision, vandals stole the cross and a court order prevented its replacement. Now, a federal judge has approved a settlement of the case allowing the National Park Service to transfer the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial to the Veterans of Foreign Wars. After the land swap is complete, a replacement steel cross will be re-erected on the property.

In 2003, Congress specifically authorized the land swap, but in 2005, a federal court injunction prevented the transfer. That then became the subject of the lawsuit before the Supreme Court. The current, court-approved settlement allows the transfer of the cross from public to private hands to now occur.

This settlement brings to an end this decade-long dispute and allows the cross - a historic symbol of sacrifice - to stand, honoring our military veterans. Thousands of Americans have joined with the ACLJ over the last decade in defending this cross. This is an important victory as the battle over another war memorial cross, at Camp Pendleton, continues with a decision from the Marine Corps expected any day.

Victory: Ground Zero Cross

By Jay Sekulow1406561623000

In a decision that represents a ringing affirmation of the presence of faith in the life of our nation, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected the American Atheists’ challenge to including the famed “Ground Zero Cross” in the National September 11 Museum. While the entire opinion is worth...

read more

Claims Against the Ground Zero Cross

By Matthew Clark1404744954000

From day one, angry atheists have made outlandish claims about the Ground Zero Cross – the two intersecting steel beams in the shape of a cross that was found in the wreckage of the World Trade Center following 9/11. Not only have they made these absurd claims in public (calling it “ offensive and...

read more

This Memorial Day, Honor our Heroes

By Jay Sekulow1400870024000

The men and women of our armed forces deserve our gratitude. They have fought, sacrificed, and died for the freedoms we hold dear. At the ACLJ, we spend every day fighting to defend our First Freedoms, our freedom of speech and of religion. Yet this work wouldn’t even be possible if it were not for...

read more

Challenge to “Under God” in the Pledge

By CeCe Heil1399997460000

In the latest chapter of a seemingly never ending battle over the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court unanimously rejected a challenge to the daily voluntary recitation of the Pledge in Massachusetts schools. The ACLJ filed an amicus brief...

read more