IFAS | Freedom Writer | September/October 1990 | cross.html

Cross barred from cemetary

In September, a federal judge ordered a public cemetery in Tehachapi, California to remove a 75-foot-tall cross because it created "a political division along religious lines in violation of the Constitution."

Judge Edward Dean Price issued the ruling on a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of a Jewish family who had a member buried in the public cemetery.

The family was offended by the dominating cross and filed objections with the cemetery board. The board claimed the cross wasn't a religious symbol and refused to remove it.

Some Christians and Native Americans joined the Jewish family in the suit.

Carol Sobel, an ACLU lawyer said, "When you put up a 75-foot cross in a community and it's on public property, that sends a message that says unless you adhere to what [the cross] represents, you're an outsider."

© 1998 Institute for First Amendment Studies, Inc.