Judge: Lake Elsinore’s proposed memorial unconstitutional because it sends ‘religious message’

RIVERSIDE – The city of Lake Elsinore’s proposed granite monument saluting veterans of foreign wars who have made the ultimate sacrifice is an unconstitutional display by the municipality because it sends an ”unmistakably religious message” that city leaders overtly support, according to a federal judge’s written ruling published today.

U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson, based at the federal courthouse in downtown Riverside, granted a preliminary injunction sought by two Lake Elsinore residents represented by the American Humanist Association, which challenged the proposed $50,000 monument that the city intended to place at the entrance to Diamond Stadium.

Wilson explained his reasoning for granting the injunction Tuesday in a 49-page ruling that concluded the ”balance of equities tip sharply” in favor of the plaintiffs, who have a high probability of prevailing in their lawsuit against the city.

A trial on whether to grant a permanent injunction, effectively killing the monument plan, is set for September.

”The legislative history and the comments of the city’s elected leaders leading up to approval of the (monument) would lead a reasonable observer to believe that the monument endorses Christianity and Judaism,” Wilson wrote.

The judge fell back on several Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ precedents to bolster his view that the monument’s potential historical tribute was less significant than its religious meaning.

”The monument is slated to stand alone in front of the stadium,” Wilson wrote. ”There are no surrounding war memorials or other displays that might communicate to the reasonable viewer that the city sought to reflect secular and historical messages, rather than religious ones.

”The fact that the Latin crosses and Star of David (depicted on the 4.5- foot-high memorial) do not dominate … cannot take away from the unmistakably religious message they send to any objective viewer. The Latin crosses and the Star of David are immediately noticeable to even the most casual passerby; they appear on the front of the monument … and are illuminated in white.”

Wilson conceded that the U.S. Supreme Court had made allowances for publicly financed religious displays in ”borderline” instances of religious endorsement, but the cases were usually settled by the obvious presence of sectarian symbols that provided some balance.

The judge referred to the three large crosses on the grounds of Arlington National Cemetery, as well as two large crosses at Gettysburg National Military Park.

Attorneys with the Sacramento-based Pacific Justice Institute, which defends ”religious freedom and other civil liberties” and is representing Lake Elsinore, argued that the city’s proposed monument was modeled after the American War Cemetery near Omaha Beach, one of the landing points of the Normandy invasion in France by allied forces during World War II.

The monument design depicts a soldier kneeling before rows upon rows of crosses, like those erected over many of the graves of servicemen killed at Omaha Beach.

Wilson, however, found the argument unpersuasive in the face of statements by city leaders and a representative of the local historical society — all of whom avowed their faith during public meetings.

”There is no indication that any council member so much as suggested that the Latin crosses and Star of David were meant to allude to World War II veterans,” the judge wrote. ”At least three council members made specific statements that they wanted to keep the Latin cross as part of the monument because of its religious symbolism.”

The judge, citing standards set by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court, said he had to drill down to the real ”motivation” of city leaders in deciding whether an injunction was warranted in the case.

Wilson’s ruling was based solely on the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which states that Congress ”shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

The plaintiffs asked the judge to consider ruling on alleged violations of similar provisions within the California Constitution, but he declined.

Wilson’s interpretation of the Establishment Clause dovetails with more than six decades of case law that began with Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black’s majority opinion in Everson v. Board of Education that a ”wall” separated church and state.

Many scholars and jurists contend the wall is a myth, and that the founders never intended to relegate God from the public square, but rather prevent the government from financially supporting one religion to the detriment of another.

86 Responses to "Judge: Lake Elsinore’s proposed memorial unconstitutional because it sends ‘religious message’"

  1. Paco   July 17, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    I’m with you Gary….

  2. Reality Checker   July 17, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    That’s assuming they are actually offended, Gary. My guess is they’re faigning being offended, and just pushing the buttons because they know they can. It a kind of power trip thing, and one more thing a progtard can do to usher in communism I think. They aren’t offended one bit. It’s a sham, a real shame. Communists have no decency, no morals, no bounds to the offensive crap they can push on everyone. The sad part is, most Americans are so ill educated they get tricked into believing what’s wrong is right and what’s right is wrong. They would believe the sky is green if the left said so. Sheeple.

  3. Founders   July 18, 2013 at 8:23 am

    Any nations people who would give up liberty and freedom to ensure peace and prosperity deserve neither.

  4. FR 86   July 18, 2013 at 8:46 am

    What’s ironic here is that the memorial honors those who fought and fell for our freedoms including religion…………..and we have individuals who have nothing better to do than to deny us the right to honor those men and women.

    I’m afraid that extremist continue to use the system to their advantage whether they are pro/anti: religion, abortion, gay rights, etc.

    Someday plain old common sense and morality my return to us but apparently not now.

  5. Ray (the real one)   July 18, 2013 at 9:25 am

    Being non religious, I have no problems with crosses on mountains or commandments in courthouses. Lighten up folks.

  6. Joemamma   July 18, 2013 at 10:53 am

    Nice Benjamin Franklin quote Founders, one of my favorites.
    As for religious symbols, I might be mistaken, but does the military not mark graves with either a cross or Star of David? I visited my grandpas grave at Point Loma and there were nothing but Crosses and Stars of David. Seems to me that those symbols would be appropriate to honor fallen military folks. I’m not religious, and symbols don’t hurt my feelings. I honor the folks that died and their own personal religious beliefs. Instead of complaining and making others take down monuments, maybe come up with your own symbol that can be included.

  7. Me   July 18, 2013 at 11:02 am

    I agree with Ray (the real one)…….

  8. Tired of Liberalism   July 18, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    In a better day tar and feathers would be in use.

  9. Pink   July 18, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    Our Constitution says "Freedom of Religion" not freedom from it. The people that complain they are "offended" are some of the most mean spirited and closed minded individuals on the planet. They, as a group, offend me, but I’m not asking that they be removed. I think it is nothing more than a combination of hatred of a god (they claim to not even believe in) and a total lack of common sense. Most unbelievers that I know could care less about religious memorials, it is just a handful of haters who care nothing of the rights of others, just themselves. What, may I ask is wrong with a plaque in a public place that says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not lie? Is it because they themselves are liars, killers and thieves? Seems to me like there have been an awful more violence in schools and public places since we were forced to take them down.

  10. Wildomar Resident   July 18, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    Ray and Me I agree.
    Pay attention to the judges

  11. Carla   July 18, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    Good! If individuals wish to construct a veteran’s memorial monument adorned with religious iconography they can do so with private funding and locate it on private property. Certainly there are more pressing human needs that $50,000 of public money could best be used for. I wonder how many former vets living in Lake Elsinore might benefit from a food assistance program?

  12. Joanie2   July 18, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    I personally have no problem with the current monument proposal, but since some do, consideration might be given that the cross’s and Star’s of David be replaced with a facsimile of the markers that are used in our stateside, military cemeteries, with or without “those” markers displaying religious symbols. All of the military cemeteries that I’ve seen have simple post-like monuments that are either left unadorned or are engraved with cross’s or Stars of David. If engraved monuments are acceptable for our military, it should be just as acceptable for our little stadium.

  13. FR86   July 18, 2013 at 4:41 pm


    Using your logic then since veterans monuments with religious icons should only be on privately funded land then all wars that cause veterans should only be funded by private individuals not governments………..makes perfect sense. But that’s not what happens in reality.

    Besides since you don’t respect others religious belief what difference does it really make to you. The memorials are for the veterans……not you.

    FR 86

  14. Carla   July 18, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    @FR86: Yes, let’s radically reduce the size and funding for our military! I totally support less government funding for warfare and greater funding for purposes more in keeping with a civilized society. Fewer weapons in the hands of the Pentagon means less temptation for militarists to go off and murder people half way around the world. I support more Americans engaged in economically productive pursuits here at home and having fewer American families devastated by the needless loss of a loved one on some far off battlefield fighting for interests not their own.

    As for your misstatement about my views on religious belief, you’re incorrect. I fully support the rights of individual religious belief as per the US Constitution as well as The UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    Oh, one last thing. This is a government project being built with public funds and as such is being covered by a newspaper of general circulation. Too bad you may not like it, but I like everyone else (veteran or not) have an absolute right to voice an opinion about it.

  15. Lee   July 18, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    This just in! The United States of America has separation of church and state. Details at 11.

    PS. Carla, you cannot argue with idiots! These are gun totin’ modern-day Yosemite Sams.

  16. grunt   July 18, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    Carla, you do have that right – but pray tell, how does the cross HURT you? It does not, what you are doing is trying to force your views on everyone — tolerance, as practiced by you and the left is tolerance ONLY for your beliefs.

  17. LMAO   July 19, 2013 at 9:49 am

    "you can not argue with idiots" did Lee really say that? Really? Well… I guess he would know…….

  18. Founders   July 19, 2013 at 10:21 am

    Oddly all arguments here reign true in this great country of mine, yours and ours. Least we forget, freedom to adorn warriors memorials with anything is freedom expressed? Thick red blood from humans have paid for that right.

  19. FR 86   July 19, 2013 at 11:17 am


    You appear to dislike the military. But the reality of today’s world and the unfortunate history of mankind is that it takes men and women with guns on walls to protect you and the rights you have but misdirect. The least you can do is allow a few of your tax dollars to go to honoring them religious icons or not.

    They gave their lives…………… your qwetching about a few of your tax dollars.

  20. @Lee   July 19, 2013 at 11:28 am

    "Do the people get to vote on this directly? and if not, why not? Where is the true democracy, where?"

    Interesting that you have made this statement on a 100 other topics that you don’t like the outcome of a vote on, but when you approve of the action taken by someone other than a direct vote of "the people" you are strangely silent about the "peoples" rights. How do you spell hypocrite?

  21. Me   July 19, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    @Pink….I agree with everything you said up until the last sentence. I believe the reason we see more violence in schools and public places doesn’t have anything to do with the 10 Commandments not being posted……and everything to do with the increase of single parents with little or no supervision of their kids.

    Both the removal of the Commandments and the beginning of the destruction of the "family" both happened around the same time…….

  22. @Me   July 19, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    Regarding your last sentence: Do you think that is a coincidence?

  23. Reality Checker   July 19, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    Watch you tube video called Grinding America Down. If you really want to know what this is all about. Its about destroying America from within and eventually turning it into a communist state. NO BS. Its the old KGB, and supporters of Lenin, Marx, Mao, and any other commie you can think of. They still exist, and they are more prevalent and intrenched than you can imagine. All this crap congress is doing, and NOT doing, its all because thats the way they want it to be. Its all the master plan. And YES, THERE IS A MASTER PLAN AND ITS WORKING BETTER THAN THEY EVER IMAGINED!!!!

  24. Just a former Navy cook   July 19, 2013 at 4:32 pm


    You fail miserably in your argument. Youn blame our military and are complaining about $50,000?? Excuse me but how dare you insult all people of Riverside(including Lake Elsinore). It is emberassing that you would want to gut the military-your military. The very military that serves and protects your right to speak your vitriole. The amount of money spent on this monumnet is a joke. I don’t suppose you would want to make a contribution? Maybe you were at Occupy Wall Street? Spitting on our veterans after they came home fron Vietnam? Voting for Obama? Yupper your a devout leftist honey and i feel sorry for you. Everyone remember the scene in the movie Airplane where the woman was going crazy and all the people lined up… funny wasn’t it?

  25. Just a former Navy cook   July 19, 2013 at 4:36 pm


    Before you go spinning your wheels and steam coming out your ears remember while Obama wants to furlough loads of government workers(cool by me) try looking at the $3,500,000 being spent on a program to save the common gopher on one of the military bases(Andrews Air Base I believe)-I could be wrong honey but $3,500,000 is allot more than $50,000. Nah you don’t care i know.

  26. lotsahelp   July 19, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    Make the crosses headstones…

  27. Lee   July 20, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    Folks, FR86’s comment #14 actually makes a very important point:

    "Using your logic then since veterans monuments with religious icons should only be on privately funded land then all wars that cause veterans should only be funded by private individuals not governments………..makes perfect sense. But that’s not what happens in reality."

    Folks, can you imagine if you and I, THE PEOPLE, actually had the power to decide where OUR tax dollars go? Can you imagine that? Can you imagine living in a TRUE democracy where WE, THE PEOPLE, YOU AND I, decide where our tax dollars go? Can you imagine that? Can you imagine that just above the dotted line of our tax returns that we signed just three short months ago . . . there were boxes that we could check off designating where YOU AND I want OUR taxes to go? Can you imagine that? So, can you imagine if there were boxes, for example, such as public education, public transportation, environmental causes, renewable energies, the national defense, social security, universal health care, employment development and assistance, etc., that YOU AND could check designating DIRECTLY where our taxes went?

    Can you imagine that?!

    And who, my dear fellow Americans, do you think would (A) shout the loudest in opposition, and (B) do so immediately? Who?

    The Pentagon, of course.

    Why? Well, it’s simple: the communist or socialist (take your pick) arrangement of our government collecting OUR tax dollars and then IT dispersing them without OUR say so would no longer exist, which means that the Pentagon would no longer have a virtually unlimited supply of money, for many Americans would NOT designate some or all of their tax dollars to go towards the defense.

    Can you imagine that? And, therefore, many wars such as the illegal Iraqi invasion would perhaps never have come to fruition, thus, having saved THOUSANDS of American and Iraqi lives! In other words, YOU AND I would have had, and would now have, DIRECT control of where our tax dollars went EXACTLY!

    Imagine that? Imagine . . . living in a TRUE democracy!

  28. Carla   July 20, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    @16. Lee, you have to wonder often times if there is not some sort of inverse correlation between volume of firearms owned and brain cells. lol!!!

    @17. You falsely equate tolerance of free religious expression with government funding of it. There is a difference.

    @20. I do not have any fundamental dislike of the military. Militaries are part and parcel of any modern state. What I oppose is the greatly disproportionate size and composition of the US military in terms of the legitimate security needs of this country. The modern US military is not a defensive entity but rather one constituted and often times used, to project US brute muscle around the world in accordance with a thoroughly outdated and arrogant neo-colonist world view. Also for future reference a modern world atlas might help you apprise the exact extent of the national territory of the United States and that which is legitimately ours to defend.

    Try reading my remark again. I never complained about the spending of $50,000. I expressed a thought that the money could best be used for other purposes and I hardly think that feeding hungry vets would smack of dishonor towards them or their fallen comrades.

    Are you really interested in seeing a veteran’s memorial built or more interested in making a religious statement at public expense? Government can legally fund the former but not the latter. It’s really that simple. Your choice.

    @25&26- Like wow! How did I possibly insult the residents of Lake Elsinore and Riverside County? It’s not as if I’ve maligned them by insinuating you lived there or something.

  29. Lee   July 20, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    My dear Carla, there most certainly is. And it, of course, makes perfect sense. A gun "takes care of things quickly", so hey, why use one’s noggin’? Just look at . . . Yosemite Sam.

    The last time I checked, however, Sam NEVER, EVER beat Bugs. That’s what our modern-day Yosemite Sams just don’t get, because, well, . . . them there gun totin’ varmints just ain’t very bright.

    Oh well.

    PS. Oh by the way Carla, shall we indulge them? Shall we? If and when you and I ever meet, did we decide that I’m bringing the weed and you Marx’s "Manifesto" or vice versa? Which one was it now?

  30. Queen   July 20, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    @Lee, one obviously doesn’t understand that separation of church and state does not mean no "religious" references or objects be displayed. It, quite simply, means the state has no right to force you into one religion. At those opposed to the crosses or Star of David because you believe it holds religious connotations, I ask you this….if there is no God (as the religiousness of the cross holds) why does it bother you so? If there is no God, should you even be bothered by the mere sight of the cross? No. The fact that people are so gung ho for removing the crosses because they represent Christian beliefs, if YOU don’t believe, there shouldn’t be a problem in it at all.

  31. Pink   July 20, 2013 at 11:25 pm

    Carla: Read some of the other (I know I’m not allowed to use the word "crazy") stuff that Lee has written on other posts. Please, do not ever meet him in person. I know you are a young woman who can take care of herself, but be cautious, I know that you are smarter than that.

  32. Lee   July 21, 2013 at 10:10 am

    @ Queen #31 How do you know that I’m not a Christian?

    Folks, you know what? I just realized something! By all means, let’s have this War Memorial. In fact, let’s have a war memorial on EVERY street corner. Absolutely! Parents, when you take junior to see one of these memorials which, hopefully, will include the number of Americans having lost their lives, you and Junior will come to the conclusion that this is something that Junior does NOT want to be a part of, i.e., coming home in a body bag, coffin, or a maimed in a wheelchair.

    So YES, let us have war memorials on EVERY street corner of our great nation! I am all for it!

  33. Carla   July 21, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    @28 While direct participatory democracy is theoretically the most reliable mechanism of ensuring that the desires of the governed are put into effect, I don’t see any real practical applicability in real world governance of a modern nation state. I think we are, like it or not, stuck with the representative model of participatory democracy. For me then the real question remains how to best promote an egalitarian system that represents the interests of a diverse, multicultural and economically stratified population. I think laws that restrict the prerogatives of capital to unduly influence electoral outcomes and public policy making is the first crucial step. Another is redistributive economic policies that diminish the absolute size and consequent advantages of capital are another.

    @32. Acknowledged.

  34. LMAO   July 21, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    @Comment 34: Thank you Carla for answering Lee’s question in such a way that it will take him days, if not weeks, to figure out what you just said. Hopefully he will be so engrossed in trying to understand it he will forget to ask why "the people" didn’t get to vote on cookie choices at the last Girl Scout meeting.

  35. Queen   July 21, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    Where do I once state you are NOT Christian?

  36. Queen   July 21, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    The above was a question for Lee.

  37. FR86   July 22, 2013 at 8:50 am

    You know when a veteran is remembering the times he’s sitting in a rice paddy getting shot at by north Vietnamese regulars or VC, or he just saw his closest buddy turn into a pink mist because of an improvised explosive device in Iraq he’s in that situation to protect people like Carla and her the right to express herself…………………

    All she can do is harp about her tax dollars being spent differently, get nasty and complain about the government she deserves

  38. C-dawg   July 22, 2013 at 9:45 am

    You all are missing a huge issue. The city paid $50,000 for an ugly granite tombstone with some clip art downloaded from the Internet on it.
    That should not have cost more than $5,000 max

    Who got the kckback for pushing that through the city council?

  39. Where?   July 22, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    Amendment I
    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

    I don’t see where it says no religious symbols on public property.

  40. FR86   July 22, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    To Comment #40

    Ask Carla…….

  41. C-Dawg   July 22, 2013 at 4:04 pm


    What part of "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" don’t you get?

  42. Check it out   July 22, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    @C-Dawg: You didn’t read far enough…. "or prohibiting the free exorcise thereof"; What part of that didn’t you understand?

  43. Reality Checker   July 22, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    I got what Carla said, right away. It doesnt take a brain surgeon to figure out what she wants. Its a government that rounds up the poor, illiterate “disenfranchised” minorities from around the nation and the globe and then finds whitey, takes his crud and gives it to everyone else. Thats what all that gobbeldy-gook she spewed means.

  44. Carla   July 22, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    @38: How exactly was the Vietnam War fought to protect my freedom of speech? How was propping up the military dictatorship of South Vietnam at the expense of something like 60,000 plus American lives and hundreds of thousands of dead civilians and combatants over several countries and years of blood let fought to protect my liberties? How exactly was the Iraq War fought for the benefit of my freedoms? Let me guess, Saddam Hussein was just on the verge of a military landing at the foot of the Oceanside Pier with his mythical, non-existent weapons of mass destruction when the ever omniscient Bush decided to make a preemptive strike first? Is that it?

    And then after making the manifestly stupid assertion that all this carnage was done to somehow protect free speech rights here in this country, you then go on to chastise me for actually using those rights? What kind of dummy are you? And I’m not asking this rhetorically, I’m serious! Are you for real?

  45. Carla   July 22, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    @43 The government is not prohibiting your right to free exercise of religion. You are perfectly free to exercise that right or not. There is a very big difference however between having a right to free religious practice on the one hand and demanding that our government underwrite that cost on the other.

    You’re talking apples and oranges.

  46. To C-Dawg   July 22, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    @#42 … The religious symbols on a monument have nothing to do with establishing a religion. These religions have been around for thousands of years longer than our Constitution, therefore, Congress is not establishing them. See also comment 43.

  47. C-dawg   July 22, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    @43, nothing about the prohibition of religious symbols on public buildings prohibits your right to excercise your religeon. You can worship any way you want – in private.

    You DON’T have the right to force others to worship according to YOUR standards.

    You DON’T have the right to place your particular flavor of worship on a public structure.

    Sorry, but the city will lose this case.

    Too bad, so sad.

  48. Re Queen #31   July 22, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    Well said. There have been many atrocious, anti-Christian "art" pieces, such as the Virgin Mary impaled in her "privates" but these are protected as freedom of speech. The founding fathers did not intend to remove religion from public places. If they did, we would have been swearing to tell the truth in court on a Bible, In God We Trust would not be on our currency, etc.

  49. C-dawg   July 22, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    Over 15,000 Muslims served in the US armed forces in WW 2.

    Why is there not a crescent moon on the proposed monument?

    Many members of the Church of Scientology have served and died in recent wars.

    Why is there not a space ship on the monument?

    Many, many, many native Americans have served and died in defence of the ideals of this country.

    Where are the Native American symbols on the monument?

  50. Carla #46   July 22, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    I don’t know about the separate costs, but I venture to guess the stone costs more than the inscriptions. So, if the stone was government funded & the inscriptions by private donations, you would be okay with that?

  51. C-dawg   July 22, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    All else aside, the design on the monument is just plain UGLY.

    They ripped the images off of Internet clip-art.

    There is probably some degree of copyright violation on there as well

    It certainly is not worth $50,000

    Someone from the city has to be taking a kickback on the deal.

  52. Pink   July 22, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    @Carla: I don’t understand how having a cross and a Star of David on a memorial to veterans promotes a specific religion. Many of our veterans were and are, Christians and Jews. These memorials are to honor our fallen men and women, and those who chose to serve, these symbols promote nothing and hurt no one. You are the one talking apples and oranges.

  53. Lee   July 22, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    Parents, war is old men talking and young men dying.

    I am pretty sure that you didn’t conceive your children for them to come home one day at a ripe ol’ age of . . . 21, 22 or even 23 in a coffin, body bag or maimed in a wheelchair. If our old geezer politicians want and thirst for war, then let THEM pick up guns and bombs and go to battle! I am serious. Why should a young person jump . . . when an old geezer whistles? They shouldn’t.

    Young folks, don’t waste your lives over some old fool’s orders! You have your entire lives before you. Don’t waste them killing innocent people on the other side of the world just to satisfy some fools up above whoever they may be. Remember the scene in Michael Moore’s "Fahrenheit 9/11" when he approaches our congressmen with the idea that THEIR sons and daughters sign up for military service and go over to Iraq and Afghanistan to fight? Remember that scene? If not, PLEASE go watch that! That sys it all.

    Young folks, live your lives . . . and let those who thirst for and glorify war engage in it. Let THEM back up their words of shouting for war actually take up guns and GO to war!

    If only the dead could talk.

  54. Book of Revelations   July 22, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    This memorial is to honor the men and women who have served and continue to serve, it is not to commemorate war. War is never good, but not all wars are bad. Lee, would you prefer us to have just let Hitler take over Europe and Africa? Japan to triumph in the Pacific? I say add the crescent moon, the Native American symbol and just plain nothing for the athiests if it makes you feel better. But of course, we all know it won’t.

  55. @ Lee#54   July 22, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    I am glad you weren’t leading this country on December 7, 1941.

  56. grunt   July 22, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    Carla – you mention the arrogant neo-colonist military, please tell me who our colonies are? Why do we have such a large military? To counter the bad guys, we have provided an umbrella of safety to Europe, Japan, Republic of Korea and many others. How did Vietnam help you? The USSR and communism were heading toward world dormancy – Vietnam showed them that the US would fight to protect our allies. Had this not happened, all SEA, then ASIA, then who knows more of Europe would have fallen. Did I like spending 30 years with almost half of that gone from home, fighting in jungles and desert? Not really, but my brothers (and recently sisters) did to protect the US.

  57. @Lee again   July 22, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    I’m pretty sure that most of the "old Men" you mention have already served in the military, and many of them have been to war. Perhaps you should redirect your comments to the young men and women of North Korea and Iran, without people like the ones running those countries, there would be no wars.

  58. C-Dawg   July 23, 2013 at 3:21 am

    @47 wrote: —-"The religious symbols on a monument have nothing to do with establishing a religion. These religions have been around for thousands of years longer than our Constitution, therefore, Congress is not establishing them."—–

    Why bless your little heart, #47. We are all so proud of you. You are just so extra special. Now run along and let the adults talk.

  59. C-Dawg   July 23, 2013 at 3:38 am

    @49. And just how many of these "anti-Christian art pieces" have been paid for by tax payer dollars and set up in public places that are not open public forums?

    You need to understand what is happening here and how the law applies to it.

    1. The city is explicitly endorsing a religious viewpoint. They admitted as such in the public record of the discussions leading up to this.

    2. The monument will be placed in a limited forum. In other words, the city is not allowing every Tom, Dick, and Harry to put up monuments at that location.

    3. The courts have ruled time and time again that such a situation is a violation of the establishment clause of the first amendment.

    The city will not win. The monument will not be placed as designed.

    Get over it.

  60. C-Dawg   July 23, 2013 at 3:54 am

    To comment #51:

    No that would not be okay. Once the stone is set, no further inscriptions could be made on it, furthermore, given its proposed location in front of the main entry to the baseball stadium, it is doubtful that any additional stones could be placed without jeopardizing public safety (fire exits and all that).

    In addition, the city would have to accept ALL inscriptions offered for inclusion, you know that they won’t. This monument was conceived and planned to be an exclusively Christian monument. They said so right in the city council meetings.

  61. C-Dawg   July 23, 2013 at 4:07 am

    Pink @53, there are other religions in America besides Christians and Jews. Why is it so hard for you to conceive of a secular monument that honors ALL fallen soldiers, not just Christians and Jews? Do you hate people that are not Christians and Jews or something?

  62. c-Dawg   July 23, 2013 at 4:53 am

    Queen @31 wrote: "The state cannot force you into one religeon."

    Queen, that is exactly what the city of Lake Elsinore is trying to to. They want to set up a limited public forum where only government approved religeous symbols will be displayed.

    The courts will not allow this to happen.

    The city will lose more money trying to fight this.

    Dont they have streets that need to be repaved?

  63. FR86   July 23, 2013 at 8:04 am

    To Carla

    Ditto Comment 38.

    And I am for real just like you. But if I had to count on my freedom and rights to be maintained by you I"D BE SPEAKING ARABIC!!!!

  64. C-Dawg   July 23, 2013 at 10:04 am

    [email protected] 64

    What does that have to do with the city if Lake Elsinor’s attempt to establish an official religeon?

    That is what this is about.

    A group of people trying to impose their religious views on others.

    I can’t think of anything more anti-American than that.

    The city could have saved a lot of grief and money by making it a secular monument, but no.

    The holier than thou council deliberately made it a religious issue.

    For that, they are being smacked down.

    As well they should be.

  65. @C-Dawg   July 23, 2013 at 10:53 am

    Stop frothing at the mouth. Liberals have no sense of humor and absolutely no sense of fair play. It would be impossible for anyone to force their religion on you C-Dawg, unless that is, you are the most gullible person in the world…. oh wait…. you believe all that left wing, liberal hog wash, so maybe you are the most gullible person in the world. As you pointed out,the city will lose, and "you" and your kind will win, for now. Enjoy the darkness, but you better get used to it.

  66. C-Dawg   July 23, 2013 at 10:54 am

    FR86, do you think they shoul add some other symbols? What if they put a couple Islamic crescents in the monument? Would you be IK with that?
    How about a Wiccan pentagram or a Thor’s Hammer? Yes or no?

  67. C-Dawg   July 23, 2013 at 11:25 am


    It’s funny you shoul post that on post 66. One more 6 and you could be the number of the beast.

    Seriously, if you don’t have anything constructive to say and if all you can do is spout insults, then please bug off.

    I am always amused at how "un-Christian" the attacks from people like you get.

    Tell me, do you think that they should add an Islamic crescent and a Wiccan pentagram to the memorial?

  68. Lee   July 23, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    Like I said, folks, yes, PLEASE let us have these war memorials on EVERY street corner of our nation! Absolutely! And let us make sure that they include the number of Americans killed for each war in BIG, BIG, bold letters so that Daddy can show them to Junior and say:

    Daddy: "Now look here, son! You, too, can come home in a body bag in a few years. Sure you can! And Ma and I will make shrine in your name in our living room right next to our fireplace including many photographs of you and I — Quick! Let’s take one now! Quick! And we’ll have the folded-up flag there and all that good stuff. Yes, Junior, you can do that! And Ma and I will be SO proud of you! Oh yes we will."

    Junior: "But Pa, I wanna live, Pa. I don’t wanna die."

    Daddy: "Well son, I’m afraid you’re gonna have to . . . so that Ma and I can live. You see?"

    Junior: " Oh, OK Pa. That makes sense, Pa."

  69. @C-Dawg   July 23, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    Yep C-Dawg, if there had been one more 6 it would have been the mark of the beast, but…gee there wasn’t one more 6 was there? Sorry if you felt insulted, that was not my intent, just speaking my mind and telling you what I think, obviously if you do that it is okay, but if I do that, then I’m being insulting. I said absolutely nothing that was un-Christian. Just giving you a few basic facts. Do what you will with it.

  70. FR86   July 23, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    You’re a college student aren’t you Carla? I can tell because you know everything…..but I know the rest.


  71. Carla   July 23, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    @70. Thanks for the compliment 🙂 However there is no remainder, no "rest" left over from everything. But you really shouldn’t be so hard on yourself. You must know something? After all even George Bush, I’ll assume, knows how to tie his own shoes.

  72. C-Dawg   July 23, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    FR86, what about my questions?

    Would you be okay with replacing some of the Latin crosses on the monument with some non-Christian symbols? A crescent and star? A Pentagon? The Hammer of Thor? A Medicine Wheel?

  73. FR86   July 23, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    C-Dawg, et.al like you and Carla

    If the individual that is being remembered was a Druid or wanted his SSN on their memorial I wouldn’t care because it doesn’t have any effect on my life and it’s their right being expressed. That’s what it comes down to……… just like your right to express your opinion.

  74. @ c-Dawg   July 23, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    #59, really? That’s all you got? Don’t bogart that joint, my friend.

    #60, pt. 1 Really? They publically endorsed religions in public record? Then please link or cite these comments.

    #60, pt 3. The courts previously ruled in favor of slavery & segregation, too. The Courts aren’t always right. How many times has the Supreme Court made an unanimous decision? Probably never.

    How about they go through all the VFW records & include the symbol of the religion of every veteran. It is a memorial to them, after all. Whatever their faith, I imagine it was very important to them. And they are what the memorial is about, not some humanist organization that has nothing else to do.

  75. Furthermore ...   July 23, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    If you ask most veterans & current military, regardless of their faith, what their priorities are, they are 1) God, 2) Country, 3) Family. In that order. So, to leave the God of these veterans off the memorial TO THEM, is disrespectful TO THEM.

  76. Queen   July 23, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    @ Lee….what about the ones that did NOT come home in a body bag. Your little story book seems quite moot.

  77. c-Dawg   July 24, 2013 at 4:56 am


  78. C-Dawg   July 24, 2013 at 5:28 am

    @77, so, you claim to speak for ALL veterans?

    Is that because you are special?

  79. C-Dawg   July 24, 2013 at 5:33 am

    FR86 @75, so your argument is that the monument is legal because the area at the entrance to the stadium is an open public forum and ANYONE can put up whatever monument they want there.

    Do the people that run the stadium know this?

  80. C-Dawg   July 24, 2013 at 6:21 am

    FR86, not to belabor the point, but do you understand the difference between an open public forum and a limited public forum?

    By placing a permanent monument at the entrance to the stadium, the city will be establishing a limited public forum. Furthermore, SCOTUS has ruled that permanent monuments are a form if government speech. This the creation of a forum with government speech with a religeon message is a violation of the establishment clause, especially when no other viewpoints were previously allowed or are likely to be allowed in the future.

    You may argue that the religious symbols are ambiguous and open to interpretation. However, as I pointed out, the record clearly shows the intent of the city to impart a religeous message via the monument.

    This formal endorsement of a religeous message is what violates the constitution.

  81. FR86   July 24, 2013 at 8:50 am

    To C-Dawg and Carla,

    Asked and Answered………………….again

    The problem with extremists be it political or religious is that they confuse their intellectual foreplay for intelligence and lack common sense.

  82. @Lee   July 24, 2013 at 9:56 am

    Was your father a war-vet? Did he say that to you?

  83. C-Dawg   July 24, 2013 at 10:06 am


    Ah, the anti-intelectual, nonsensical, "common sense" argument.


    Anyway, based on the judges TRO ruling, it doesn’t look like the city of Lake Elsinore has a chance of winning this case.

    I wonder if the city council will wake up to reality and try to work out a solution, or, will they, like religeous extremists everywhere, dig in, double down and continue to waste tax payer money in a futile battle to save a second rate memorial design.

  84. Lee   July 24, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    @ FR86 #83

    Really? So folks who don’t want a memorial based on religious arguments are . . . extremists? Really? How interesting. So what, then, do you call people who DO want some sort of monument WITH a religious undertone? What are they called?

    Please feel free to check with, oh, Iran or Saudi Arabia, and let us know via your postcards should you ever visit those theocracies, how that’s workin’ out for you. I’m sure they welcome religious zealots with open arms.

  85. Lee   July 24, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    @ Queen #78

    What a lovely high standard you have.

  86. Ex-Catholic   July 24, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    Get rid of non-profit status for churches Time for these churches to start paying up!


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