Saying a decision by a federal court to remove the famous Mt. Soledad Cross from a Southern California veterans memorial on Thursday was the latest skirmish in the war against religion and faith, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said not even Congress can protect landmark symbols from “angry atheists armed with attorneys.”
“This is just more reason why we need to stand up for our constitution and the religious liberty it protects,” Palin said.
Palin urged her followers on Friday to read a Breitbart News report on the decision, and said that the attacks on veterans’ memorials mean those “who made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our freedoms can’t even be honored with a symbol embodying one of those freedoms.”
In her blockbuster bestseller Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas, Palin has said these attacks are the tip of the spear in a larger fight to fundamentally transform America. Palin noted that in “Good Tidings and Great Joy,” she “mentioned a lawsuit taken against a World War I veterans memorial cross in California’s Mojave Desert”:
In the 1930s, the Veterans of Foreign Wars put up a cross in the Mojave Desert— in an isolated area known as Sunrise Rock— to honor our brave soldiers who died in World War I. The modest cross, made out of eight-foot metal pipes painted white, sat on 1.6 acres of desert, 90 percent of which is federal land. Though it was ‘in the middle of nowhere,’ it meant such a great deal to many people. In 1983, when a World War I veteran lay on his deathbed, he asked his best friend, Henry Sandoz, to take care of the cross. And that’s exactly what Henry faithfully did every year after his friend’s death.
Henry was in his seventies by the time Frank Buono, helped by the American Civil Liberties Union, filed a lawsuit claiming that this lovingly maintained old cross unconstitutionally promoted the Christian faith. As the case bounced from one court to another, the cross was enclosed with plywood, covered like an adult magazine in the back of a bookstore. Over the course of the court battle, which went all the way to the Supreme Court, it was even stolen. Finally, after eight long years of battling, the cross was able to remain on the land by transferring the property surrounding it to a private citizen.
Though the Mojave Desert cross was saved, the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial cross in San Diego was not, even though in 2004, Congress, as Palin noted, “passed a law protecting its right to exist as a national memorial to the brave men and women in uniform ‘who sacrificed their lives in the defense of the United States.'”