A long-running fight over a Christian cross atop Mt. Soledad in San Diego County appears to be coming to an end. The cross will stay.
A non-profit group has purchased a half-acre parcel of land in La Jolla where the cross is located from the federal government: the Department of Defense, to be exact. The reported sales price is $1.4 million.
The 43-foot cross has been the subject of litigation for a quarter century as backers and opponents fought over the display of a religious symbol on government land.
The cross was erected as part a war memorial by an American Legion post in the 1950s. The monument contains about 3,700 plaques honoring veterans. Jewish war veterans represented by the ACLU sued to have it removed – saying it was an unconstitutional government endorsement of a particular religion.
The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case last year – sending it back to a federal appellate court for a final ruling. Now that the cross is on private land, the constitutional issues surrounding its display are moot.
The deal to sell the cross property was engineered by former Congressman Duncan Hunter, who’s been an outspoken advocate for keeping the monument.