At the cross roads

The cross on Mount Soledad has been under scrutiny for over 13 years, and it will remain that way until it is removed or resold.

Patrick Leung

There is no reason for this ultimatum: Philip Paulson, an atheist and member of the Society of Separationists, doesn’t really want what is constitutional in the separation of church and state. Paulson just wants to attack Christianity.

Philip Paulson and Howard Kreisner attested in court in 1989 that they were “”deeply offended”” by the cross on the mountain and argued that they would “”like to take in the spectacular views of San Diego from the park on Mount Soledad, but avoid[ed] doing so because of the cross’s dominance of the hilltop.”” They can make a legal case about the cross because they have been “”injured due to their not being able to freely use public areas.””

Go cry me a river. I lose my freedom to go to public places when parks become well-known hangouts for gang members and my life is at risk for wearing the wrong color, but this doesn’t give me the right to sue.

Last August, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals approved the sale of the cross to a non-profit memorial association. On June 26 of this year, the court reversed that decision, making the sale void because those in favor of the cross were “”given an edge,”” as put by an editor for The San Diego Union-Tribune.

The editor for a similar article in The Sacramento Bee quotes Paulson and his attorneys as saying “”the bidding process for the land was flawed,”” and that “”the city’s requirements for the purchase tended to favor the memorial association or others with plans to retain the cross.”” In short, prosecuters said, “”The deck was stacked.””

Well, thanks for the detail, folks. We can’t make any conclusions based on the prosecutor’s opinions. Without facts, there is nothing to go on. We do know that the highest bidder was the Mount Soledad Memorial Association at $106,000. We also know that it has since spent about $1 million on improvements to the site, including 6,000 plaques in memory of war veterans. It seems that they are the ones in favor of the cross — not the government.

Allow me to also give you some background on the Society of Separationists, the society of which Paulson is a member. It’s an atheist group “”dedicated to the complete and absolute separation of state and religion/church,”” according to the daily appellate report taken on March 24, 1993, by Circuit Judge Beezer.

I have no problem with that. Everyone in the United States is free to belong to whatever group they choose, as long as it doesn’t personally injure anyone or infringe upon anyone’s rights.

However, I have yet to read any literature from this group that does not include the bashing of Christianity. I wouldn’t have such a problem with them if they argued against other religions as well, making it clear that they weren’t biased against Christianity, but all the articles I have read by society members have dealt with why Christianity is wrong and why God doesn’t exist.

Furthermore, Paulson himself wrote an article for The Humanist in which he makes his stance on God clear. While fighting in Vietnam, he lost his faith in God, crying, “”You sadistic God! You’re not worthy of my worship!”” and “”To hell with God!”” Although I have never been in a wartime situation and therefore cannot truly understand his anger toward or “”fallout”” with God, I nevertheless cannot comprehend why Paulson must force that anger on thousands of others who don’t share the same feeling.

There have been many battles against Christianity and the beliefs held by Christians. Most recently, two words, which no one really cared about until they were challenged, were stricken from the Pledge of Allegiance: “”Under God”” was held to be unconstitutional.

Why taxpayers had to spend their money on a case that makes little or no difference today is beyond me. When was the last time we said the pledge anyway? And when we did, it didn’t mean anything to us, did it? Not really — it was just something we said before learning about long division.

Does this theme of wasteful and unnecessary lawsuits have to continue? I don’t believe Paulson has a problem with the cross on public land. I believe he has a problem with the cross in general, and by coupling his personal motivation behind these “”constitutional”” lawsuits with the sketchiness of the case’s base in the first place, the affair becomes clearly ridiculous.