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Three Republicans introduce bill in Congress to save cross atop Mt. Soledad

January 12, 2011 |  5:35 pm

Three Republican members of Congress from San Diego County have introduced a bill aimed at blocking the removal of the cross atop public land on Mt. Soledad in San Diego.

The bill submitted by Reps. Duncan D. Hunter of Alpine, Darrell Issa of Vista and Brian Bilbray of Solana Beach comes in reaction to a decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals last week that the 43-foot-tall cross violated the constitutional separation of church and state by seeming to endorse a particular religion.

The bill would allow religious symbols that are part of military monuments.

The cross was built in the 1950s as a war memorial. In more recent years some 2,700 black granite plaques engraved with names and  photos of war veterans have been installed on walls at the base of the cross.

Bilbray and Hunter have also urged U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric Holder and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to continue the legal fight to keep the cross from being removed. The land beneath the cross has been under the control of the federal government since 2006.

The appellate decision puts the two-decade-old legal fight back in a federal trial court, where additional litigation is expected. A number of litigants, backed by the American Civil Liberties Union, have sued to have the cross removed.


Cross on public land in San Diego is unconstitutional, federal court rules

-- Tony Perry in San Diego