It appears that Christian symbols are gradually being stripped of their signs and wonders. Now a federal judge in San Diego has reasoned the Mt. Soledad cross unconstitutional and ordered it removed from atop a Southern California mountain within three months.
U.S. District Judge Larry Burns declared on Friday that the 43-foot Latin cross unlawfully ratifies one religion over others and this violates the constitution’s Establishment Clause. However, the judge also ordered that the cross might remain if an appeal is made on the case.
The president of the Mount Soledad Memorial Association, Bruce Bailey, said that they plan to appeal the case, reported KGTV, an affiliate of CNN. This would allow the cross to remain as the age-old legal battles over it continue. Nevertheless, his organization is disappointed in the ruling to take down the cross.
The San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper reports that ACLU’s Daniel Mach said in a statement, “We support the government paying tribute to those who served bravely in our country’s armed forces. But we should honor all of our heroes under one flag, not just one particular religious symbol.”
This Christian symbol has been around since 1954. Established in honor of Korean War veterans, it has also been the subject of a perpetual judicial tug-of-war since 1989. According to two Vietnam War veterans, who filed suits in 1989 to have it removed, the Christian cross violates the “No Preference” clause in the California Constitution.
The city of San Diego has made two attempts since the first lawsuit to sell the portion of the land upholding the cross to Mount Soledad Memorial Association, but the courts have blocked the sale.
The latest ruling came after years of battle over this judicial hither and thither of the symbolic Christian cross. In the lawsuit that followed in 2004, both sides in the case agreed to move the cross to a church nearby. However, two congressmen who intervened succeeded in not removing it by adding a provision to the 2005 (omnibus) budget bill that labeled the landmark a “National Veterans Memorial,” which then gave the federal government permission to receive the property as a donation. This move led to more court battles.
In August 2006, three congressmen called the property a “historically significant war memorial” and pushed a bill through that called for the federal government to take hold of the property by “eminent domain” and thus, the government seized freehold that year. Almost immediately, a new lawsuit followed and challenged the government transfer, which led to the current ruling.
As Christian symbols are being stripped of their signs and wonders around the U.S., another similar ruckus recently roused carpenters in New York City. Christian symbols at the World Trade Center mysteriously have appeared since the horrific events of 9/11, and these emblems have brought hope and amazement to many people. Some of the people view the religious symbols as a divine message of sorts, while others call them unconstitutional, or explain them away by lending scientific reasoning.
Most recently, employees at Ground Zero noticed the aspect of a sorrowful woman set within a curve of a massive contorted and rusted piece of steel that was recovered after one of the planes had crashed into one of the towers on Sept. 11, 2001. The workers have named the visage “Angel of 911” and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum holds the “impact” steel as part of two pieces to showcase in an exhibit scheduled to open in the spring of 2014.
According to P. Chris Pistorius, salts, oxides, moisture and air circulation, in, on and around the steel play roles in how the steel’s surface behaves and how the beam decays. Pistorius is a scientist at Carnegie Mellon University. He told NBC News that erosion affected by atmospheric elements is very sensitive to micro-climates. It is more likely to make a design than a uniform corrosion, he says, because it is actually challenging to get level rust on such an exterior.
Professor of materials engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Thomas Eagar, said what appears to have happened with the 911 struts is that layers of steel were lying on top of each other and moisture had formed in various areas, which then left these patterns.
Other points of view include the suggested “Pareidolia” at work. This perceived phenomenon occurs when the patterns of eroded, twisted steel or other elements or objects look like a face, or a mistaken image. We have well-suited brains that find outlines in unsystematic blotches of light and dark, and can perceive just about any image. Supposedly, this was how splotches of rust gave rise to the “Angel of 911.” The funny thing, though, is the lighting angles and perspective could all be just right, but the workers at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum and visitors alike have all marveled over the apparition that doesn’t change when anyone moves.
Christian symbols seem as though they are gradually being stripped of their signs and wonders in the U.S. A British tabloid, The Sun, quoted a tourist of the exhibit in Manhattan as saying, “You can see the face clear as day, as if it’s looking down over a sacred spot.”
An Editorial By Christina Ibbotson