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This diary title is from today's headline in the article in the San Diego Union Tribune.  This is not an inspiring diary, and for those with "outrage overload" you may as well pass it by.  You really should pass it by, as this is worse than the regular stuff that comes across this site. This is not simply another depredation of the rethugs, the Bushies who we all despise so much.  No, here we have to deal with the complicity of a group from among whom we seek our salvation, the entire Democratic caucus of the United states Senate.  Read on if you have the stomach for it.

(For a complete description of the legal battles see the Wikipedia article.  , which I borrow freely from.)  

On the highest point of the city of San Diego, the apex of Mount Soledad in the village of LaJolla, there had long been something called the Easter Cross.  It had a checkered history, being used for religious services and also, reportedly, as a rallying point for the KKK. In this upscale, long restricted community,no Blacks, Mexicans or Jews were allowed. In 1989, this cross being on city property in clear violation of the constitution, Phillip Paulson, along with another friend, brought a lawsuit against the city.  The merits of the case being so clear, they won the case on their own without legal assistance or funding from any organization.

For those who want to take a side trip, I recently wrote a diary Onward Christian Soldiers that goes into some of our national historical values that are being shredded by these events.  Rather than repeat that diary, let me just say that Paulson's legal victory set up a reaction that vilified him, debased the California and now the United States Constitutions, and fostered an unprecedented torrent of hatred against those who would "destroy our cross."

After seventeen years of legal victories in District and Federal Appeals Courts, reflecting the unanimous opinions of no less than 44 federal judges.  After endless delaying tactics and city referendums,  as if a majority vote overrides constitutional protections, the end seemed near with a court order from the district judge to remove the cross.  As a last ditch effort, three local Congressmen floated a bill to federalize the memorial, using, for the first time,  the power of eminent domain to protect a religious icon.  It passed the House with only 74 democrats opposing it.  It would be up to the Senate to take a stand.

I knew that the vote was coming up, so I was on the phone to the offices of my Senators here in California, telling them of the netroots view of this issue: of five hundred votes the overwhelming majority expressed contempt for any senator supporting this bill.  They countered my poll results with, "we have our own polls."  I was actually on the phone when the vote was taken.  Not only did we lose, it was abject surrender.

The Democratic Senators tried to portray this vote as meaningless, that the courts would have the final word.  Such cynicism is breathtaking.  Those who follow these things remember how nominee John Roberts described Justice Jackson's principle, that Senatorial decisions have influence in gray areas of presidential power.  The President signed the bill into law in a simple ceremony, admonishing "activist judges," who would dare go against the will of the people.    

You can read all about in the San Diego Union Tribune.  They should be proud, as their thousands of references to "atheist" Paulson, rather than "combat veteran Paulson" and their editorials on "saving our cross" really did the job.  It is so easy to rouse people to rage when they feel their religion is under attack.  They really get passionate about it.  Hey, it works in Northern Ireland, India and Iraq.  Why not here?

Depressing?  You bet.  I warned you not to read this.  

Originally posted to ARODB on Tue Aug 15, 2006 at 05:44 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  One nation under (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Buffy Orpington

    their god, no individuals, and without liberty, or justice at all...

    Democracyfest Incorporated thanks all those who made the 3rd Annual DemocracyFest a success.

    by mataliandy on Tue Aug 15, 2006 at 05:48:59 PM PDT

  •  I May Get Shouted Down Here (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Killer, zenbot

    for saying this, but I don't have a huge issue w/ this article. If this is really a memorial to our veterans then it should stay right where it is.

    "It is not enough to win, all others must lose," Sun Tzu.

    by webranding on Tue Aug 15, 2006 at 05:58:52 PM PDT

    •  the memorial was (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      goodasgold

      added after the fact to try to get around the early legal decisions against the city.

      Putting a yellow ribbon on your car is literally the least you can do. Put your money where your mouth is and enlist or shut the fuck up.

      by darwinsjoke on Tue Aug 15, 2006 at 06:02:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That May Be, But Not (0+ / 0-)

        what I got from reading the article that was linked to i the post.

        The first Soledad cross was built in 1913 and was featured in Easter sunrise services. The current cross, dedicated as a veterans' memorial, has stood there since 1954, replacing another cross that had fallen in a windstorm.

        "It is not enough to win, all others must lose," Sun Tzu.

        by webranding on Tue Aug 15, 2006 at 06:04:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Nobody's shouting at you (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      goodasgold

      and nobody wanted to get rid of a memorial to our vets.  Our vets were Christians, Jews and Atheist.  The memorial was a ruse to protect the Cross.  This was the decision, not of atheists or democrats, but 44 different federal judges of all backgrounds.

      It's complicated, but the facts show this to be accurate.

      •  I Understand What You Are Saying (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VoteHarder

        and I know nobody is shouting at me. I said that as a means to show I would talk about the topic and didn't want to just pick a hot button issue and troll. That of course is not my goal.

        I am for a division of church and state. Heck I am an atheist. I just feel this is an issue that is being faught about to much. The three owners of my firm are all jewish. Something like this wouldn't bother then in the least. And it doesn't bother me.

        "It is not enough to win, all others must lose," Sun Tzu.

        by webranding on Tue Aug 15, 2006 at 06:15:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You express the sentiments (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ari Mistral

          of the Dem. Senators.

          The tradition until GWBush's presidency was inagual prayers with to the vague monotheistic God.  He changed it to Jesus Christ.

          As a Jew this is a big deal.  To my Aunt, who remembers Teddie Roosevelt this is a big deal.

          But you are right not to be agitated.  There is only so much you can react to, and then you are just worn out.

          •  What An Amazing Wikipedia (0+ / 0-)

            entry that I have now read twice. Gosh I love that place. I love this quote from the entry"

            Reps. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (now Federal Detention Prison Inmate 94405-198 [4]) and Duncan Hunter as a rider to a voluminous spending bill approved in November 2004 by Congress.[9] Under the bill, the site would become part of the National Park Service but would be maintained by the Mount Soledad Memorial Association.[9]

            Now language and icons are important. But in your reply you are changing the issue. As a person that does not belive in "god" I deal with people projecting their views on myself all the time. I HATE it. I actually have a canned phrase I use to explain my POV. "I don't lie, I don't cheat, I don't steal. If I am wrong and there is a god, when I pass I think he'll know that I lead an honest life."

            Of all the issues facing us I don't feel this is one where we should spend a lot of political capital.

            "It is not enough to win, all others must lose," Sun Tzu.

            by webranding on Tue Aug 15, 2006 at 06:26:53 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The Dem Senators agree with you (0+ / 0-)

              and they are spending zero capital.  But there is a cost among many, who do care about these things.

              Just check out my previous diary and see the poll.

              •  You Can't Fight All the Time (0+ / 0-)

                I am anal. I say what I think. I have an opinon on almost any issue. But I've learned you can't always be fighting. At times you have to just let things go and focus on the "important" fights that matter the most.

                From looking at your blog I am a few years younger then you :) (37 BTW). I could be way off here, but I think this issues to a large extent is a generational thing. Not a 100% of the time, but more often then not.

                As somebody else said we should be looking for a solution to make everybody happy. Should a cross be on federal land or a law passed and signed by the president. I don't really think so, I believe we have much bigger issues to deal with. And to a large extent that is my point.

                "It is not enough to win, all others must lose," Sun Tzu.

                by webranding on Tue Aug 15, 2006 at 06:36:42 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Can't really argue with you (0+ / 0-)

                  I write about this mainly because this is my turf, and as a secular Jew, I have felt the sting of religious exclusion.

                  The Senate's decision was an abondonment of the seventy four dems in the house who put themselves on the line for this.

                  But, I can't say this is number one, or even the top ten on our list

                  •  Well One Last Thought or Two (0+ / 0-)

                    I grew up in a small town. Not a lot of color or jewish people to say the least.

                    I'll never forget when I was in college and somebody told a jewish joke. I didn't get the punch line. " Don't you get it, Jews are cheap." My response was, ok, I wasn't aware of that.

                    Now many years later my last three bosses have been Jewish (sorry, almost like saying I have an African American friend). But I say it cause I have learned a lot from them about their religion. It was many years ago that I started to buy a Jewish calendar cause it made me feel small when I'd call somebody that was out of the  office cause of a holiday I was not raised to know existed.  

                    I can see how being a secular Jew in this society might not be easy. I mean I am a member of a few other places where I post my thoughts. And I am getting slammed 24/7 for saying Israel has a right to defend itself. It is amazing to witness actually.

                    That is all .... just felt like saying this for some reason.

                    "It is not enough to win, all others must lose," Sun Tzu.

                    by webranding on Tue Aug 15, 2006 at 06:57:55 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

  •  Grrrrrr I mean this is getting pathetic (0+ / 0-)

    Be good to each other. It matters.

    by AllisonInSeattle on Tue Aug 15, 2006 at 06:09:16 PM PDT

  •  I don't see this as a huge problem (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    webranding, VoteHarder

    This does not register on my outrage meter at all.

  •  meh (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zenbot

    I'm a liberal agnostic native San Diegan, and I've never seen why the darn cross was a big issue.

    It makes a lot of people happy to go there on Easter for the services. So why not just let them? I don't mind. They're not bothering me. Most of them are really nice people. Let them have their cross.

    I don't feel like provoking the Christians over this, and waving around the separation-of-church-and-state argument... even though, legally, I suppose we could.

    Instead, I think we should all be trying to figure out a practical solution for the problem. I mean, yeah, it shouldn't be on government property, technically. But that doesn't mean we should be saying, "RA RA RA RA RA TEAR IT DOWN!!!" I think it means we should be saying, "Ok, well, let's try to figure out a compromise to make everybody happy."

    Besides, it's a local landmark. Just like Mt. Helix in La Mesa. I spent the first 18 years of my life seeing that cross evvvvvvery day--while I was growing up agnostic--and it never bothered me one bit.

    Non-issue, imho.

    the times they are a changin'

    by VoteHarder on Tue Aug 15, 2006 at 06:28:08 PM PDT

    •  Not a trivial point (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VoteHarder

      The law respect that which exists in many principles.  Adverse Possession means that when someone walks on your property for years you lose the right to prevent them from doing it.

      I came to this area only a few years ago, so I don't have your history of this being part of the background.  

      The is a legal truism:  Tough cases make bad law.  This tough case will set a nasty precedent.

  •  I was just there, saw the cross (0+ / 0-)

    and I have to say, the most offensive thing in the LaJolla, N.San Diego skyline is the f-ing Mormon temple. White sharp spear-like towers, bathed in blindingly bright white light.

    I HATE looking at that thing and I barely notice the cross.

    This is like "in god we trust" on the money.
    It it not worth the blowback to oppose it.

  •  Mt. Soledad Cross is gov't-sponsored sectarianism (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    webranding, goodasgold

    Can the President and the Congress show some respect for the Constitution and the law? Two appeals are pending in the Courts. Yet, the unconstitutional actions of the President and the Congress clearly demonstrate a blatant disrespect for the court system. Can anyone give one rational reason why the President and the Congress couldn't have patiently waited for the appellate courts to rule on the cross case?

    America is a Secular Nation, this I know. The US and California Constitutions tell me so. Here is what the Constitution and the law has to say about placing a single, sectarian message on Mt. Soledad:

    "Free exercise and enjoyment of religion without discrimination or preference are guaranteed..."
    -- Article 1, Section 4 of the California State Constitution

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,..."
    -- 1st Amendment (Bill of Rights) to the US Constitution

    The last time our land on the North American continent and before the US Constitution was drafted, the time honored principle for safeguarding the "separation of church and state" was not honored. What's worse, falsely accused witches were tortured and killed in Massachusetts Bay (English Divine-Right Crown Colony) at the hands of Christian Puritans. Whereas, on the west coast falsely accused Native Indians in Alta California (Spanish Divine-Right Crown Colony) were tortured and killed by the Inquisitional Roman Catholic Priests. The legally constituted court decreed by Sixtus IV's Papal Bull and implemented by the Spanish monarchy carried out a brutal colonization and enslavement of their subjects' bodies and christianization and enslavement of their subjects' minds.

  •  The thing that bugs me the most (0+ / 0-)

    is the closed door bill-signing by Bush.  The issue is of interest in Southern California; there was an article on the front page of the California section today.  The rest of the country will never hear a word about it.

    I drew a circle. It was blue. And it turned into a circle of gold.

    by goodasgold on Tue Aug 15, 2006 at 06:52:02 PM PDT

  •  You Know Al ... (0+ / 0-)

    After reading your blog and your post about this you might have moved me a little in your direction.

    Perhaps It was an accident of history that those who wrote our Constitution knew that future leaders would be tempted to harness religion to amass personal power.  Many of their forebears had come to this untamed land to escape religious persecution, not by heathens, not by moors, but by other Christians.  The founders of our country were not only scholars, steeped in history, law and yes, religion; they were masters of the written word.  In our constitution profound principles are routinely encapsulated in few words.  They wrote, as the first words of the first amendment, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free expression thereof."

    and ...

    When President Bush referred several times to our war on terror as a Crusade, he said it was a slip of the tongue, or a misconstrued figure of speech.  With the signing of these two laws, and the possible affirmation by a newly constituted Supreme court, there will be no more illusions.  Oh, the domestic cheerleaders on talk radio and cable news may manage to spin this transformation of our country into a victory against rampant atheism, but the rest of the world will know better.  Our great nation, long the model of freedom, with acceptance of all beliefs, all religions, all views life, will begin to fade into history.  We will have been transformed into just another country dominated and defined by its religious majority.

    Very well written and intelligent.

    "It is not enough to win, all others must lose," Sun Tzu.

    by webranding on Tue Aug 15, 2006 at 07:06:45 PM PDT

  •  Not a Problem (0+ / 0-)

    i comment way more then I post here. It has be an educated, but tough crowd.

    "It is not enough to win, all others must lose," Sun Tzu.

    by webranding on Tue Aug 15, 2006 at 07:16:17 PM PDT

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