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MOJAVE CROSS: Settlement ends national dispute over memorial

By   /   April 25, 2012  /   12 Comments

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Under the settlement struck between the Justice Department and the American Civil Liberties Union, the Sandozes will give 5 acres of land they own within the preserve to the federal government. In return, the National Park Service will relinquish 1 acre encompassing Sunrise Rock. That acre will be transferred into the ownership of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post.

A 7-foot-tall cross-shaped war memorial at the center of a decade-old national dispute will soon return to its perch atop Sunrise Rock east of Baker in the Mojave Desert, following the settlement of a court case that wound its way from California to the Supreme Court and back.

Critics have long argued that the symbol should not be allowed on public land in the Mojave National Preserve. They say the Christian symbol violates the Constitution’s First Amendment, which prohibits the government from endorsing any religion.

The settlement announced Tuesday would appear to be the final chapter in a saga during which the cross was ordered to be shielded by a plywood box from public view, stolen, reconstructed and torn down again — all while the courts debated constitutional questions.

To Henry and Wanda Sandoz, who promised one of the veterans who first erected the memorial 78 years ago that they would look after it after his death, the Mojave Cross saga goes far beyond legal issues.

For the rest of the story, Press Enterprise

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About the author

Branson Hunter

(This story was posted by Cactus Thorn contributor Branson Hunter)

"The ends do not justify the means." If you use illegal mean to accomplish a legal and even desirable result, the good result does not make the bad means you used justifiable.


  1. Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

    Great News…. I expect to be their for the re-dedication.

    The Department of the Interior and the Justice Department should be ashamed of themselves for dragging their feet for 10 years.

    Now where is the original cross? They stole it from the little hill and told us it was in a safe place and would be returned once settled…. Where the hell is it and who has it?

    I am waiting for the justice department charging the thief and putting the guy on trial.

  2. Paparrazi Paparrazi says:

    The ACLU even fought the compromise of the land trade. This action by them shows that they were more interested in getting rid of the cross at any cost. Blatantly seeded with religious bigotry in their hearts. Still it’s a sad commentary that the judge had to play Solomon and split the baby in half in order to preserve this monument. What’s next, rename Joshua Tree because it references a Biblical character?


  3. Scots Slant Scots Slant says:

    P: Good point on “Joshua” tree.

    Lore goes that Mormons named the joshua tree because its up-stretched arms resembled the prophet Joshua reaching to the heavens.

    It is a stretch for anyone to make a claim that a lonely cross on a hill establishes a religion in violation of the Constitution.

    Guess I better watch my back the next time I pray in a national park lest I be sued for violating somebody’s civil liberties….

    • But would you say the same thing if that symbol were the star and crescent moon of Islam?

      • desertrider desertrider says:

        The issue Spectre is that if the symbol was anything other than a cross i.e. star and crescent,atheist,Buddhist,rainbow flag etc.. Those that have issue with the cross being there, would not have an issue.

  4. Terry Elam Terry Elam says:

    and the beat goes on…
    I just don’t get it. I don’t care what you believe. Leave the memorials alone.

  5. Mike Hawkins Mike Hawkins says:

    “What’s next, rename Joshua Tree…?”

    Heck yea! And there are plenty more too, Angeles National Forest, Mount Diablo State Park etc. There are many public lands in California alone whose very names are in fact religious symbols.

    How about these places? Los Angeles, San Francisco, how about Temple City. Aren’t these names, symbols over which the ACLU should be complaining? Sure, and San Bernardino while we’re at it and of course SACRAMENTO? I wonder how much tax money is spent in association with these religious symbols, and in how many different ways?

    Wonder how much tax money is spent maintaining CHURCH STREET?

    So etcetera, etcetera, etcetera, the list is enormous! The extent to which these symbols of “Religion” are not separated from the business of “State” is a situation that all the plywood in the world cannot change.

    BTW, per Wikipedia California is “…of the Terrestrial Paradise, which was inhabited by black women without a single man among them…” well that’s got to be someone’s religion eh?

  6. Paparrazi Paparrazi says:

    Yep Mike, the list goes on and on. One might even get the idea that religion, specifically Christian was behind this huge plot to revile against our constitution. How dare they name these places after respected people of the cloth. The “San” cities like, Sand Diego, San Francisco, San Mateo, San Onofre etc. San is the spanish equivalent of Saint which is highly attributed to the Christian faith. Heck even the San Andreas fault should be renamed. All of the aforementioned are symbolic names referencing the Christian faith. So back to reality. What’s the harm in recognizing our religious history?

    • Religious histoyr, Paparrazi? Really? You mean the part where the leaders of this good Christian nation (all but) stole the land from the people already living there? The one where everything from Utah on south and west passed from Mexico to the U.S.? THAT is why so much of Southern Cal is in Spanish. So is that the Christian heritage you’re referring to?

      I was rather impressed, while visiting Nashville, to see that they have two main streets running parallel through their town. Church and State run concurrently, side by side, but never cross paths.

      • Paparrazi Paparrazi says:

        SpectreWriter. Yep, those innocent Indians never did anyone harm until the Spaniards came to town. Those Indians that Never, No Never went to war with each other. No, No, No. They were sooooo peaceful. They never ever did any harm. Such foolish presumptive revisionist thinking from a SLM.
        Yes that Christian nation that has done more to help those in need around the world than any nation in history. How many hospitals have the Indians built? How many colleges? How many orphanages? How many people have the Indians freed from ternary around the world? How many vaccines? How many governments that now have women’s rights have they established? No other religion can attest to the positive changes brought about by christianity. Where did our calendar come from? Take a guess on what day it’s beginning is based on. Where is our world class justice system based on? What was the first book authorized for public schools? It’s amazing the arrogance and ignorance of revisionist. Most of their agenda comes from a spiritual core of religious bigotry. Who’s their instructor? The corrupted educators that permeate our educational systems. They practice fascism by silencing those who disagree or won’t emulsify into their twisted corrupt hatred of religious people.

        • 1) SLM=? It’s generally good form to use acronyms only AFTER that abbreviation has been presented in full text — all the more so when one is intending (no matter how unsuccessfully) to call someone “foolish” and presumptive, and insult him.

          2)Your poor logic is truly astounding. By the very same fallacies you would endorse slavery as having been acceptable because it was eventually good for the descendents of slaves.

          3) Your own convenient recollection of history is laughable at best. Our calendar? The Gregorian mess, you mean, or the other calendars that OTHER parts of the world designed within their times? “Our world class justice system” had me nearly literally on the floor howling! The one that still executes innocents, has become a very profitable private industry, convicts children by trying them “as” adults? The one that incarcerates one person for 3 years for something minor while letting an intentional murderer get the same sentence? But to answer the question, COMMON LAW, from England. But even there, we’ve buggered it, claiming that the forgiveness of debt in 7 years, for example, (borrowed from the OLD testament of the Bible, so give that to the Jews) only applies to civilians, not to debts owed the government.

          What’s amazing is your set of presumptions, both about me and the rest. Now you’re crying fascist and claiming to have been censored by those who quite clearly and obvious allow you to express even the ridiculous statements you put forth here.

          Stop hiding behind a cartoon character.

  7. desertrider desertrider says:

    I have noticed crosses throughout my desert travels.
    Here are two, unfortunately for fear of them being torn down I won’t divulge their whereabouts.

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