American Humanist Association sues California town to halt construction of cross monument
The American Humanist Association filed suit Friday against a southern California town for its plans to use public funds to construct and erect a Christian monument on public property.
The suit is in response to a monument (shown above), said to cost almost $50,000 in tax-payer money, that contains a soldier kneeling in front of a cross. The monument is to be placed outside the Lake Elsinore Diamond, a city-owned baseball field.
In October of 2012, Lake Elsinore, a town less than 70 miles from Los Angeles, unveiled the design of the monument that was supposed to honor local and national veterans.
Soon after, the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers contacted the city council, claiming that it was a dishonor to non-Christian veterans and an exploitation of military service in order to have a government endorsement of religion.
In early November, a committee of veterans was tasked with deciding what to do about the controversy surrounding the monument. The only change that was made was to include a Star of David onto the monument, at the request of one of the city council members, claiming that it was more historically accurate.
As such, the American Humanist Association finally decided to file suit against the city, saying that the monument is a violation of both the United States and California constitutions.
Attorney William Burgess of the Appignani Humanist Legal Center said, “The city has clearly violated the First Amendment by unnecessarily choosing a divisively religious means of honoring our veterans. In addition, the California constitution prohibits any governmental funding whatsoever for religious purposes, including religious monuments.”
We will bring you updates as this story develops.