Stolen Valor – Military Service Exploited for Religion in Government

Selected promotions of religion under the guise of honoring the military

Those who have died for our country are rolling in their graves that their service should be used to justify Christian privilege and the suggestion that the Christian cross is the symbol for patriotism and service to the nation. This is a case of stolen valor when the service of Jews, Hindus, Muslims, atheists, and others are gathered to defend specifial privileges for Christians. The Camp Pendleton cross and the feature below on the Mt Soledad Easter Cross provided additional commentary, but the tactic is the same in each case.

Mt Soledad Easter Cross – original tactic

On Mt Soledad in La Jolla, CA (near San Diego, CA, A huge cross was, make no mistake, put up in 1913 as an ‘Easter Cross’ on city land to promote Christianity. In 1989, foxhole atheist Phil Paulson and others who objected to Christian promotion on public land, filed suit to have the cross removed. Current plaintiffs include Steve Trunk, Jewish War Veterans of the USA, Inc, Richard A Smith, Mina Sagheb, Judith M Copeland

Christian and veterans organizations started putting up pictures of veterans to suggest the cross should stay. They have had much success revising history to claim that this huge Christian monument had always been a war memorial. This is a travesty perpetrated against all those who want their service honored, not re-purposed for as legal distractions for Christian privilege. in 2005, facing court-ordered removal of the cross for being what it is, a promotion of Christianity on public land, the land immediately under the cross was transferred to federal control.

In January 2011, after over 20 years of battles, the Ninth Circuit court ruled unanimously that a huge cross on public land overlooking a major city violated the Establishment Clause of the Constitution. The Ninth Circuit refused to re-hear case, maintaining lower court ruling In January, that the monument, “conveys a message of government endorsement of religion that violates the Establishment Clause” However, the lower court stopped short of ordering the cross removed and suggested that the cross could be modified. There still exists a huge loophole for promotion of Christianity through the government. The cross still dishonors veterans, treating us as legal pawns instead of honored patriots.

Some proponents of the Easter Cross suggest that the cross is not really a religious symbol or that it is not significant to the memorial. As an atheist, I am surprised that Christians would allow such a denigration of their religious symbol. Some have suggested that removal of the Soledad cross would lead to challenges against the religious emblems placed on grave markers at national cemeteries. MAAF will oppose all such challenges. The more likely scenario is that court support of the cross will lead to more abuse of veterans in protecting other Christian displays, such as the Mojave Cross and Summum Monument cases.

Additional background on the Soledad Cross: