Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Ruling may mean end of Mojave cross "Separation of Church & State again"

Posted on 07/26/2002 6:36:18 PM PDT by gitmo

A 6-foot cross in the Mojave National Preserve must go, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

Attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union argued the cross violated the Constitution because it was a religious symbol on public land, and U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Timlin of Riverside ruled in their favor.

The cross atop an outcropping 11 miles south of Interstate 15 between Barstow and Las Vegas dates to 1934.

A prospector, John "Riley" Bembry, raised a cross to honor World War I veterans and asked a friend, almost as a dying wish, to make sure it remained there.

After the ACLU filed its March 2001 lawsuit against the National Park Service, Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Redlands, got a bill through the House making the cross a national landmark. CBS Morning News featured the cross and its supporters.

"Unless the government is willing to open up the land to everyone, in a come one, come all manner, then the government has no business allowing one symbol," said Peter Eliasberg, staff attorney of the ACLU's Southern California chapter.

The Press-Enterprise The cross, constructed from pipes painted white and cemented to outcropping, is off Cima Road in the Mojave National Preserve.

The U.S. Department of Justice represented the National Park Service. It was uncertain if Timlin's ruling would be appealed, said Justice Department spokeswoman Dana Perino.

"We haven't had a chance to review the opinion yet," Perino said.

Timlin's 21-page ruling was filed about 2:45 p.m. Wednesday.

Timlin cited a 1996 9th Circuit Court of Appeals opinion in the Separation of Church and State Committee vs. the city of Eugene, Ore.

"The presence of the cross on federal land conveys a message of endorsement of religion," Timlin wrote.

An appeal would be heard in the 9th Circuit court.

Pipes painted white and cemented to the outcropping next to Cima Road formed the latest version of the cross, put there by Henry Sandoz, a former state transportation worker who lives on the preserve's edge in a spot off Interstate 15 called Mountain Pass. The prospector asked Sandoz to look after the cross before his death in 1984.

Sandoz said Wednesday he was surprised by the judge's decision.

"I figured it was over, and I figured it would maintain," said Sandoz, 63, who has hunted deer in the preserve for years.

Sandoz, his wife, Wanda, and roughly 50 other people have held Easter services at the cross, atop a pile of boulders locals call Sunrise Rock.

"We're devastated," said Wanda, 58, who has baked cinnamon rolls for those Easter-morning services. "But I still don't think it will go. Maybe I'm hard-headed or something. I really can't believe it will come down."

Although the Sandozes say they have religious convictions, the couple said Bembry wasn't much of a religious man.

"He didn't put it there with any religious significance whatsoever," Wanda Sandoz said. "To him, it was there strictly to honor veterans."

The ACLU argued the cross is clearly recognized as an important symbol of Christianity.

"One thing important to remember is the government has no more business putting up a sign saying 'God is dead,' " Eliasberg said. "And another thing, this is not an anti-veterans lawsuit. There are many veterans of this country who are not Christians."

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Government; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; US: Nevada
KEYWORDS: christianity; clintonappointee; courts; cross; freedomofreligion; judge; mojavedesert; religion
This cross is an historical structure. Even if it wasn't, the courts shouldn't be messing with someone's freedom of speech.
1 posted on 07/26/2002 6:36:19 PM PDT by gitmo
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: gitmo
"The ACLU argued the cross is clearly recognized as an important symbol of Christianity."

And we certainly can't have any of that, can we ?

2 posted on 07/26/2002 6:41:46 PM PDT by lawdog
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: gitmo
Atheists are an intolerant lot.
3 posted on 07/26/2002 6:41:59 PM PDT by TheDon
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: gitmo
I suppose it makes no difference that the Cross was there before the Mojave National Preserve was established?

Since the Cross was there before the land was federalized wouldn't the US taking over land with a cross on it be a violation of Church/State in itself?

4 posted on 07/26/2002 6:50:28 PM PDT by Mike Darancette
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TheDon
What about my right to watch the atheists burst into flames and disappear leaving a whiff of brimstone upon seeing a cross? They say it offends them so that's the only thing I can imagine a religious symbol could do to them. BTW, the only people hurt by seeing a cross were vampires and Damien in "The Omen" movies. All are fictional characters.

I can't think of a more appropriate memorial to WW I vets. I sure wish our schools would teach history again, then we wouldn't have to put up with Clymers like those in the ACLU so often.
5 posted on 07/26/2002 6:55:41 PM PDT by Hillarys Gate Cult
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Diago; Salvation; patent
6 posted on 07/26/2002 7:17:23 PM PDT by Libertarianize the GOP
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: gitmo
U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Timlin

Keep this bozo away from federal property like the American Cemetery above Omaha beach.

7 posted on 07/26/2002 7:27:35 PM PDT by SMEDLEYBUTLER
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: gitmo
Another Clinton clymer.

[ Main page | Judges | Courts | Legislation | Topics | Courthouses | Amistad | Publications | Links | Contact ]

Timlin, Robert J.

Born 1932 in Buffalo, NY

Federal Judicial Service:
U. S. District Court, Central District of California
Nominated by William J. Clinton on April 26, 1994, to a new seat created by 104 Stat. 5089; Confirmed by the Senate on September 14, 1994, and received commission on September 15, 1994.

Georgetown University, A.B., 1954

Georgetown University Law Center, J.D., 1959

Georgetown University Law Center, LL.M., 1964

Professional Career:
U.S. Army Private First Class, 1955-1957
Law clerk and attorney, Pennsylvania Railroad Company, 1959-1960
Private practice, 1960-1961
Trial attorney, Criminal Division, U.S. Dept. of Justice, Washington, DC, 1961-1964
Assistant U.S. attorney, Central District of California, 1964-1966
Private practice, 1966-1967
City attorney, Corona, California, 1967-1970
Teacher, Chaffey Union Jr. College, California, 1970
U.S. Magistrate, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, 1971-1975
Private practice, California, 1971-1976
Judge, Municipal Court, Corona Judicial District, 1976-1980
Judge, Riverside County Superior Court, State of California, 1980-1990
Associate justice, Fourth District Court of Appeals, Division 2, State of California, 1990-1994

Race or Ethnicity: White

Gender: Male

8 posted on 07/26/2002 7:36:18 PM PDT by SMEDLEYBUTLER
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: gitmo
I guess the veteran cemetaries are next
9 posted on 07/26/2002 7:38:09 PM PDT by breakem
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: gitmo
What about the thousands of crosses at US Miliary cemeteries?
10 posted on 07/26/2002 7:40:06 PM PDT by crystalk
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: All
This foolishness needs to stop somewhere. First, impeach the judge.

Second, sell the little spot of land under the cross for one dollar to a memorial society for the man who put it up.

11 posted on 07/26/2002 7:42:03 PM PDT by crystalk
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

Nominated by William J. Clinton





12 posted on 07/26/2002 7:54:42 PM PDT by FF578
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: gitmo
Funny how the courts and the liberals ALWAYS forget the 2nd part of the establishment clause... about NOT PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF....
13 posted on 07/26/2002 8:09:50 PM PDT by goodieD
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: lawdog
Further evidence that the agenda of the ACLU is to rid the United States of America of any and all vestiges of Christianity - the last great obstacle to a socialist puppet state! I am truly disgusted with them - and their fellow travelers
14 posted on 07/26/2002 9:38:08 PM PDT by LiteKeeper
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Hillarys Gate Cult; TheDon
Sigh... Atheists get blamed for every lawsuit about religion, but usually we're not the people behind them. Looks like this case has been going on for quite a while, and, according to this site
this ACLU case is based on a complaint made by a Catholic, not an atheist.

From the article: "The ACLU, without giving a name, said the complaint was brought on behalf of a former park service employee who claimed to be Catholic."

As a former Catholic, I don't know why a Catholic would be offended by a cross. Assuming this person does exist, maybe he just has a personal beef against his former employer and/or the people in the area...?
15 posted on 07/26/2002 9:47:29 PM PDT by Tired of Taxes
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: gitmo
My reply at Hurt Feelings Aren't Enough Of A Reason, National Journal, July 8, 2002, by Stuart Taylor, Jr. (posted by JeanS).

[Justice Sandra Day] O'Connor:

" ... sends a message to non-adherents that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community."

A perfect example of a statement issued by a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, which is not lawful, it is not Constitutional; you do not have to be a judge to know this; furthermore, her statement is not enforceable.

The Constitution does not give an absolute right to define what is, nor what was, to a judge; and no Amendment to the Constitution has yet done that dishonor.

Now, to the Justice's statement.

The First Amendment was written by people who knew how to read and write, they worked their documents over and over, to get them close to their original intent.

Why would they do that?

Because the very term, word, expression: "law" meant to them, fixed, adherence, firm, stability.

For example, would that your heirs decide that because you are a "dead old white guy," that original intent of your last will and testament which you labored over to express your perpetual wishes ... be all diluted to meaning - less - ness by your heirs' decision to make of your words what meets their demands, "right now?!"

You would be aghast (but perhaps not, knowing your heirs) to have your meaning spun otherwise.

What was the point of your labors, your sculpting the words to make them a memorial for the ages, when the "contemporary interpretations" of law is that the purpose of writing law, is to put down on paper mere words to be scrabbled into what pleases competiting lawyers in the ring.

Why bother with sentence structure if original intent does not matter; why not just list words?

Rediculous, such a game; no value to law is in it.

For law to have value, it must be respected for its original intent; same for your last will and testatment.

The original intent of the Framers and Founding Fathers, was not that of Thomas Jefferson's 1806 letter alone, wherein he mentioned the "separation of church and state;" the other old dead white guys' combined efforts are vastly more important --- they wrote it, and they approved it for transmission to the new states (which, by the way, had not yet totalled thirteen) ... with the blessing of George Washington.

The original intent of the Framers and Founding Fathers had nothing to do with "sending a message" to non-believers in man's Creator, that they were members, let alone guaranteed members, of the American political community. The Framers and Founders did not do this, "sending a message," because no such guarantee was required.

In fact, for all who bother to notice, in the body of the Constitution (that's the part prior to reading the Bill of Rights), is the matter of there not being a religious test for government office:

Article VI, Section III:

" ... no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

That's right; the Justice has her history incorrect and has improperly applied her solution upon the First Amendment where her solution has no standing.

Now some legal scholar may come along and try to be very particular about that Section and its application, but I challenge their attempt to make logical their particulars in the face of their manifest transgressions of the Framers and Founders original intent as well as what they said in their sculpted works, The First Ten Amendments.

Such "legal experts' would have you peer narrowly where they want and wide where they want, and not challenge their corrupt "interpretations" which they dub "living" --- they sound like fascists who'll tell you that "Work makes you free" as they march you off into a controlled state.

Our individual Liberty and our individual responsibility, our duty, require us to exert our authority as the people, to bear down upon judges, lawyers, and "legal experts" who mock the sincere efforts of George Washington and our forebears.

You cannot tell me honestly, that he was a man who believed in a government by judiciary. Thomas Jefferson was his Secretary of State, and he also did not believe in a government by judiciary; same is true for Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury; and true for Knox, Secretary of War --- all men determined to form a new federal government responsive to laws made by the duly elected representatives of the people, sitting as the Congress.

Jefferson was a States Rights advocate, who thereby sought the strength of the democratic-republic structure against what he and his fellow "Republicans" feared could become a purely national American government, sans the individual States.

Yet among the "Republicans" were social democrats, then inflamed by the French Revolution, and they were inclined to point out Thomas Jefferson as their model --- but his conceptions for protection of the people against government, by way of the democratic-republic bode well against a government by judiciary, and against the absolute committee of the French Revolutionaries massacring French citizenry for their political incorrectness.

The French model of social "democracy" headed by supreme committees of social judges was not what Jefferson would promote as a check against tyranny.

And checks against government are the purpose of The First Ten Amendments to the Constitution.

The "test" to apply, is not Justice O'Connor's misconception.

Instead, the test is:

Was the protection from government, which is notably protection affirmed by the very First Amendment, denied the petitioner because Congress made a law respecting an establishment of religion, or Congress made a law prohibiting the free exercise of religion?

16 posted on 07/26/2002 9:47:33 PM PDT by First_Salute
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: gitmo
I lived in Barstow for nine years, working at a very remote gas pumping station. I have seen this cross many times and am saddened by one liberal appointee who has the audasity to remove it forever for no one to see.
17 posted on 07/26/2002 9:54:41 PM PDT by jdontom
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Tired of Taxes
Yes, and the little girl who objected to "under God" was an atheist too.
18 posted on 07/26/2002 11:17:33 PM PDT by TheDon
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: First_Salute
Great reply. Thank you for posting this.
19 posted on 07/27/2002 11:00:20 AM PDT by Kay Soze
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: TheDon
Actually, her father never said that. The media did.
20 posted on 07/27/2002 7:38:31 PM PDT by Tired of Taxes
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: Tired of Taxes
What did the media say, that the father did not?
21 posted on 07/27/2002 8:36:47 PM PDT by TheDon
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: TheDon
That he claimed his daughter was an atheist. I cannot find a direct quote from him saying so. The media seemed to be using creative license (though even I believed it at the time). Even his own brief didn't claim that she was an atheist. It doesn't say what her own beliefs might be (which would be questionable, anyway, because an eight-year-old lacks the maturity to decide on her own). His brief listed himself as the "plaintiff" and as an "atheist". However, his whole position seemed to rest on him as a parent having say in what his daughter was taught in public school.

Can you find a direct quote from him saying his daughter was an atheist? I can't.
22 posted on 07/27/2002 8:49:22 PM PDT by Tired of Taxes
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson