Thursday, July 18, 2013

Court Enjoins Veterans Memorial Containing Religious Symbols

In American Humanist Association v. City of Lake Elsinore, (CD CA, July 16, 2013), a California federal district court held that the design of a monument to military veterans that was to be installed at the city of Lake Elsinore-owned Diamond Stadium likely violates the Establishment Clause.  The monument, as finally approved by city council, depicts a soldier kneeling before a Christian cross, with several more crosses and a Star of David in the background.  Reviewing at length the history of the design of the monument, the court concluded: "it is likely that Plaintiffs will be able to demonstrate that the Latin crosses and Star of David were included ...because of their religious symbolism," and that "Plaintiffs are likely to prevail on their contention that a reasonable observer would perceive [the monument] as 'sending primarily a message of' endorsing religion." The court issued a preliminary injunction barring the City of Lake Elsinore, California from displaying the monument in front of the stadium. American Humanist Association issued a press release announcing the decision, and Opposing Views reports on the decision. (See prior related posting.)